Home   Index   Search   Contact Us

About Mseleni Hospital


Mseleni Hospital is located under the UMkhanyakude District (D27) serving two local municipalities namely: Umhlabuyalingana and Big Five Local Municipalities with a population of approximately 90 000. Mseleni Hospital fulfils its service delivery through: 1. Thirty six (36) mobile clinics
2. Nine (9) clinics: Gateway clinic, Mbazwana clinic, Manaba clinic, Tshongwe clinic, Mabibi clinic, oQondweni clinic, Mnqobokazi clinic, Ezimpondweni clinic as well as Mduku clinic
The hospital reports to UMkhanyakude Health District with some other neighboring hospitals such: Manguzi, Mosvold, Hlabisa and Bethesda; furthermore, Mseleni is one of the KwaZulu Natal Department of Health 62 Provincial Hospitals.

Originally a missionary hospital, which developed from a clinic service, Mseleni Hospital is in far-distant rural part of northern KwaZulu Natal with 60km away from the Mozambique boarder towards south direction and 370km north of Durban.

Shopping Centers

Mbazwana is about 20km south of the hospital with one petrol station (Engen), two banks (Capitec and Ithala Banks), three supermarkets, including Spar, two clothing shops (Pep and Dunns) and other typical rural shops as well. About 60 km north, there is Manguzi town, with services from Engen garage, Absa, Capitec Bank, Ithala Bank, FNB, KFC, PEP, Boxer supermarket and others.

Other crucial services

South African Police Service (SAPS), Mbazwana Education Centre, Tusong Centre, Department of Home Affairs, and Mbazwana Library.

Natural Environment

Mseleni is located in a splendid natural environment under the Isimangaliso Wetland Park with Lake Sibaya 40 minutes walk away. Further afield, about 13km drive east from Mbazwana town there is Sodwana Bay, an internationally acclaimed scuba diving spot with game reserve, fishing spot, camping sites, loads of accommodation lodges and restaurants.

Surrounding Communities Way of life

Religiously, since the hospital has a missionary background, Christianity is dominant among the staff, even in the wider community. At the hospital though, there are opportunities to join the Bible study group, Sunday church services (such Pentecostal and mainline churches), and morning ward devotions. Furthermore, Shembe Nazareth religion is also dominant in the area with services held on Saturdays by its members.

As the hospital is in rural area, the community remains indigenous with habits like subsistence farming, holding cultural ceremonies, and burying their deceased family members at their homes as allocated graveyards are non-existent.

Although the area can be safely declared as a rural setting, there are elements of globalization that have finally reached it, for example: main roads are tarred, most of the working class individuals own cars; they build their own modern homes; they have electricity; they access higher education; they occasionally access the internet and TV; and almost everyone accesses radio, newspapers, public transport, shelter, food, water and other basic needs. However, there is also a group that can be safely categorized in the class of the poorest of the poor; most of those families are crippled by epidemics like HIV/AIDS which mainly leave families headed by teenagers, grandparents, or distant family members.

As far as the education is concerned, almost every child accesses basic education at schools in the area.

Mseleni Hospital Facility

Mseleni Hospital is a 219-bedded hospital, which is split into 6 wards (labour, female surgical, pediatric, male, female medical and isolation wards). There is also a therapy department, a radiography department with x-ray and ultrasound machines, pharmacy, laboratory, dentistry and social services. The hospital runs 9 clinics in a catchment area of 100 x 30km.
The Outpatients department (OPD) serves as a doctor's waiting room during the day and also a 24-hour emergency department. Most of the time there are between 5 and 8 doctors employed by the hospital. This number includes community service doctors.
Patients come from various ways; some are referred from Mseleni Hospital clinics, from local surgeries while some come on their own will. Nevertheless most patients are treated in Mseleni but in some cases patients require more specialist attention, therefore those are referred to other tertiary hospitals such as Chief Albert Luthuli Hospital or other referral hospitals, depending on the nature of the treatment required by that particular patient.

Mseleni Hospital is part of the local community. The hospital site is shared with Mseleni Children's Home, which also runs an AIDS orphan care project called Lulisandla Kumntwana.
Although clinics are under Mseleni Hospital, they are run by their own Operational Managers and other nursing staff. On the administrative side, some clinics have clerks who assist with compiling monthly statistics, keeping and organizing records and ordering drugs from the hospital with an assistant from the nursing staff.
Clinically, their responsibilities include holding well baby clinics, dealing with casualties and performing CPR when needed, delivering babies, inserting catheters, dispensing drugs, applying and replacing dressings and more.

Every week the clinics are visited by a doctor. Each doctor has one or two clinics which they are responsible for, and they visit for a day, sometimes with the help of a student. The therapists, dentist and social worker visit each clinic once in every 2 weeks. They will see the patients from that area who have been advised to return by the nurse. If possible they will provide the patient with treatment there. If not they will refer them to the hospital, where they will be seen by a Medical Officer.

Mseleni Pharmacy provides the clinics with the drugs needed. It is the responsibility of the nurses running the clinics to place the orders in plenty of time.

Some clinics are busier than others, depending on their location and population. Mbazwana is the busiest, and Mabibi is the quietest.

Employees Accommodation around Mseleni Hospital

Inside the hospital

For couples and seniors there are individual houses. For juniors, singles and paramedics there is a shared house, with a maximum of 4 sharing a kitchen and bathroom. Although the rooms need spicing up with personal items, the location is very pleasant overlooking the rural surroundings, and if you're up early enough you could watch the sunrise from your bed!

Outside the hospital

Some community members rent out their houses. There is a large number of hospital employees that utilize this type of accommodation.

Common diseases and Illnesses around Mseleni

Mseleni Hospital serves a population of 90,000 . There is a wide variety of diseases and illnesses seen and treated. Occasionally there are injuries caused by animals, snake bites are the most common, and there have been a few injuries caused by hippos and crocodiles in those living nearby Lake Sibhayi.

However, there are a number of diseases associated with living in this area, such as Mseleni Joint Disease (MJD), Malaria and Bilharzia. Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS are the most dominant and common.

Mseleni Joint Disease

What is Mseleni Joint Disease (MJD)?
Mseleni Joint Disease is a local arthritis (inflammation of joints) which affects mainly the hips. This disease badly affects hips (as 100% of the patients have a hip problem), but in some cases it can also be detected on other body joints such as: knees, wrists and ankles; and it surprisingly affects more women that men.

What causes it?
Its cause is not yet known which unfortunately makes it difficult to prevent it.

Why is it called Mseleni Joint Disease?
Because it affects only people living in the area and its surroundings; ranging from the Mozambique border in the north, Tshongwe in the west, Mabibi and Lake Sibhaya in the east and Hluhluwe in the south.

How it is treated?
It is treated with non-steroid containing drugs and anti-inflammatory medication. In many cases, a total hip replacement is needed. This can be carried out at the hospital, and is done under local anaesthetic.

Who does the treatment?
Hip replacements are performed by Dr. V.G. Fredlund (Medical Manager) and Dr.J.A. Viljoen (Senior Medical Doctor) with the staff at the theatre and it takes less than 2 hours to complete the entire process.


Bilharzia (schistosomiasis) is an illness caused by a blood fluke "schistosoma haematobium". The fluke lives in water, and its larvae can enter exposed people through their skin. It is not advised that anyone swim or bathe or even enter pools of water in this area, as it is very likely that the person would contract Bilharzia. Unfortunately, it is almost unavoidable for local people to spend time in infected water. The lake and many water pools in the area are the source of water for washing clothes and bathing. Therefore although Bilharzia is treatable, it is a major problem.


Malaria used to be a real problem in this area. In 1998 there were on average 2 deaths every week from Malaria. But the problem is decreasing; in 2002 the hospital encountered no deaths from Malaria, and very few cases. The reason for this decrease is two-fold: the widespread and increased used of the pesticide DDT has reduced the number of mosquitoes, and with the permission to use the drug 'co-artem' to treat those suffering from Malaria. This drug is very effective in the treatment of Malaria sufferers. The worst time of year for Malaria cases is from November to May when there are many mosquitoes around, and people also wear shorts and short-sleeved tops because of the heat, therefore they are more exposed to the mosquitoes. Malaria is also preventable through nets, mosquito coils and other tools.


The materials on this website may be copied for non-commercial use as long as our copyright notice and website address are included.
Copyright KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, 2001

 | Disclaimer