A team of eminent African doctors from the diaspora has committed itself to support Malawi in the health sector.
Speaking after meeting President Joyce Banda in Lilongwe on Monday, the 10-member delegation said it is their duty to give back to their mother continent.
Led by Dr Arikana Chihombori, who originally comes from Zimbabwe but is based in the United States of America (USA), the doctors said they came to Malawi as part of a needs assessment mission to see how best they can help the country in the health sector.
Said Chihombori: â€œComing back home [Africa] is a responsibility we all have to Africa. It is a pity that the majority of Africans die even before they reach a health institution. That must change.â€
Chihombori, who chairs the African Union African Diaspora Health Initiative (AU-ADHI), said her teamâ€”which has come as a response to Bandaâ€™s call when she visited the US in June this yearâ€”will start with empowering the grass roots with education and move on to the actual support with doctors, nurses, midwives and technicians.
Banda described the doctorsâ€™ visit as one of the best days of her life, saying seeing Malawi stop the unacceptable high rate of maternal mortality rate is her passion.
â€œI cannot fail Malawians. I cannot fail Africans,â€ said the President, adding: â€œI nearly died in giving child birthâ€¦ It is not acceptable for women to die like flies because of giving birth. We will mobilise the local community through chiefs, who are local custodians of culture, as people listen to them.â€
She appealed to the doctors to support the country with equipment for use in the hospitals and training of nurses which she said costs about $3 000 for full training. She also asked the doctors to be ambassadors for Malawi when they return to their bases.
The AU-ADHI team was introduced to Banda by African Unionâ€™s Diaspora African Forum Head of Mission Erika Bennet who is based in Ghana.
The team comprises surgeons, hospital administrators, neurologists, paediatricians, gynaecologists, internal medicine specialists and sociologists, among other health experts.â€”Mana