Two Malawians based in Botswana have donated electronic cardiogram machines (ECG) to Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in Lilongwe to enable the referral centre to find causes of unexplained chest pains or pressure which causes heart attacks.
Until the donation of the ECG machines, the hospital was using two outdated machines for all the medical wards, a development that resulted in congestion.
The donation also means that Malawians who experience chest problems will no longer have to dig deeper into their pockets for K15 000 to pay for the service at a private hospital.
NezalaPhiri and Gaffar Hassam cycled in the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge held in South Africa to raise money to buy equipment for the hospital.
Speaking on behalf of the two donors who could not make it to the handover ceremony, Moses Nthakomwa said the inspiration to help KCH came when Phiri had a critical heart condition which could not be properly diagnosed in Malawi.
He said: “To strengthen his heart, he started cycling for fun and leisure and decided to enter the cycle challenge to help other Malawians who could not benefit from advanced equipment to diagnose heart conditions. Together with Hassam, they managed to raise 75 000 rand which was used to buy the ECG machines.”
Nthakomwa said Phiri and Hassam have been joined by two others, Ireen Nyirenda who is Malawian and Katiso Molapo, a South African, to participate in the 2015 94.7 cycle challenge and raise money for Mzuzu Central Hospital.
“This time, they are hoping to raise 100 000 rand towards purchase of equipment for Mzuzu Hospital,” he said.
Lilian Chunda, a medical doctor at KCH, said with the increase of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, ECG machines have become important in hospitals, but they remain few.
“Before this donation, we had two outdated machines, but now we have five. One will be placed in the paying section to raise money for paper for the two which will be in the non-paying section of 4A and 4B,” she said.
Receiving the donation on behalf of the hospital, secretary for Health MacphailMagwira said it was no secret that the health sector budget remained inadequate and such assistance from individuals was always welcome.
He asked other Malawians in the diaspora to emulate the example of Phiri and Hassam to assist the country’s hospitals.
In Malawi, an account has been opened to raise money for Mzuzu Central Hospital. The account is in the name of Natasha Nsamala, chief executive officer of the Malawi Blood Transfusion Service. The account is at First Merchant Bank Blantyre Branch on account number 0335492255.