There were tears of joy yesterday as Nation Publications Limited (NPL) and its partners, under the Mother’s Fun Run (MFR) initiative, donated assorted medical supplies to St Peter’s Health Centre at Likoma Island.
Among other items, the project donated drip stands, stretcher beds, light stands, oxygen concentrator, Suction machine, patient monitor, water tank and wheelchairs.
NPL chief executive officer Mbumba Banda said time had come for the country to stop mere talk, but act to ensure that lives of mothers and newborns are protected.
She said Likoma was specifically chosen because of its isolation. She promised to do more in addition to what has been donated so that the facility at the island becomes more dependable.
“We felt, and still feel that Likoma should be as self-sufficient in provision of health services. We must be able to limit the number of referrals to the main land.
“Likoma will benefit from this year’s Mother’s Fun Run, but going forward, the project will still look at the remaining issues so that they are addressed because we take it as a special case,” said Banda.
On his part, trustee from Press Trust, Radson Mwadiwa, said the MFR initiative was bringing life-saving actions through creating a platform for greater awareness about issues pertaining to safe motherhood.
He said MFR was also leading and encouraging advocacy campaigns for better maternal and neonatal health service delivery but also focus on shining the spotlight on young mothers.
“It is sad to note that as a country, Malawi loses 439 mothers during child births out of every 100 000, while out of every 1 000 new born babies, 27 die.
“The needs in the health sector are huge, proper care of our equipment will, therefore, ensure that interventions in the sector are well spread,” he urged.
A representative of Dossani Trust, Fletcher Nyirenda, said the trust has this year contributed K7.5 million towards the project, and a sum of K54 million since the project commenced in 2005.
“We are very sure that the equipment donated in the past is well utilised and is improving the welfare of mothers and newborns. Dossani Trust has not suffered any restrictions in financing such activities as they improve the general well-being of our people,” said Nyirenda.
On his part, Unicef representative Chancy Mauluka said they will also train health workers at Likoma and Ntcheu on improving quality of care.
“Our aim, as is the aim of the Mother’s Fun Run project, is to ensure that mothers don’t die, and that newborns are kept alive,” he said.
Council chairperson for Likoma, Trevar Gulu Banda, expressed gratitude at the items, stating that they will greatly improve the lives of mothers at the Island.
“For us at Likoma, we need to take care of this equipment, everybody must take charge. What we have been given is the future and let us not take this for granted. We applaud NPL and this gratitude we will show by taking care of the equipment,” he said.
Meanwhile, district health officer for Likoma, David Sibale, has said the donated equipment will go a long way in improving the lives of people of Likoma and Chizumulu islands.