The Albert Schweitzer Hospital, situated on the bank of the Ogooué River in a tropical rain forest in western Gabon, has served as the primary source of healthcare for the surrounding region since Dr. Schweitzer founded it in 1913.
Today, an international staff of Gabonese and expatriate professionals provide skilled care for over 35,000 outpatient visits and more than 6,000 hospitalizations annually for patients from all parts of Gabon. Two surgeons and their teams carry out close to 2,200 operations annually. Most of the 160 members of the staff live in the hospital compound, which gives the hospital the feel of a village.
Through support from the Gabonese government and Schweitzer organizations around the world, patients today find a modern medical facility that includes two operating rooms, a dental clinic, and inpatient wards for pediatric, adult medicine, surgical, and obstetrical patients.
The U.S. National Institute of Health has recognized the Hospital”s research laboratory as one of five leading facilities in Africa engaged in scientific studies of malaria, the greatest killer on the African continent with more than 1,000,000 deaths per year. Children with severe malaria at the Schweitzer Hospital have the lowest documented mortality rate anywhere on the continent.
In 1999, The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship helped establish the Community Health Program, which provides comprehensive village-based healthcare, vaccinations, and health education. With active support from the Ministry of Health, UNICEF, and the U.S. Peace Corps, this program serves as a national model. Efforts are underway to expand the program to include prevention and treatment programs for HIV/AIDS, TB, and other diseases.
In 2008 the Albert Schweitzer Hospital initiated a strategic planning process to guide the growth of the hospital over the next three to five years, leading up to the celebration in 2013 of the Hospital’s 100th anniversary. This “Lambaréné Centennial Project” aims at strengthening clinical and public health programs in HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria, and maternal/child health so that the Schweitzer Hospital is a model of integrated hospital and village health programs in rural Africa, and a training site for health workers from throughout the region.