Nation Publications Limited (NPL) has today organised a fund-raising Mothers’ Day Fun Run from Kamwendo Trading Centre to Madzimayera at Mchinji boma, with nearly K30 million-in cash and in kind-expected to be raised and donated to the district hospital.
Most of the assistance will go towards improvements in the labour ward.
An NPL crew visiting the hospital to precede the fun run and obtain a hands-on appreciation of the needs in the labour ward, in particular, and in the other wards and sections at the hospital, in general, was shocked to discover that the hospital is facing its toughest times since its establishment.
Mchinji district health officer, Dr. Chimwemwe Banda, thanked well-wishers for helping the institutions with some key equipment and resources which have proved useful in the face of the funding cut-back.
But he pleaded that more donors are needed to help the hospital in operationalising some of the key equipment.
He pointed out that after the Ministry of Health recently procured a heavy-duty generator, there was excitement at the institution because that was an answer to the frequent power outages these days.
But, several months down the line, that generator is not operational because the installation bill is K5 million-money not available in these crunch times, Banda stated.
He added that the hospital is also unable to source K1 million for repairing a water tank, a vital solution to water supply and hygiene and sanitation woes at the hospital.
Mchinji district medical officer, Dr. Juliana Kanyengambeta, and district nursing officer Emmanuel Mphoola said the solution to the paralysis brought about by the funding cut-backs partly lies with help from non-governmental players.
“For example, the nearly K30 million we hear Nation Publications Limited wants to give us is a giant push towards resuscitating operations at this hospital. That help feels heavenly and we wish more well-wishers could emulate NPL’s example,” Kanyengambeta stated.
During the visit, Weekend Nation discovered that the funding cut-backs the government effected recently is a costly mistake that needs to be reviewed, for it is translating into unnecessary deaths of poor Malawians.
“The funding cut-backs in hospitals are bringing great misery and disaster to our operations. It is more frustrating when our capacity to save the lives of our patients is stifled by a lack of basic provisions,” the hospital’s nurse/midwife Memory Kachuka lamented.
There is no need for anyone to give Kachuka a second look to note that she is tensed up.
It was later learnt that the cause of her tension concerned an incident whereby two patients who had delivered with some complications, including excessive bleeding, had to wait for several hours before they could be ferried to Kamuzu Central Hospital for specialist treatment. One of the patients later died at the referral hospital.
“Our two patients had to wait that because there was no money for fuel to run our ambulances,” she intoned.
“As I am talking now, there is a seriously ill patient in the labour ward who needs to be referred to KCH. Management has put her on the waiting list, perhaps waiting for a second needy patient. The reasoning is that the ambulance cannot be going up and down anyhow to Lilongwe, given the fuel rationing,” she explained.
The patient she was referring to was 26-year-old Florence Patrick-a mother of three, from Chiwaula Village in Traditional Authority Mlonyeni in Mchinji-who had just delivered a baby boy but with several complications, including losing much blood. Patrick needed to be referred to KCH, as she needed specialist treatment and blood transfusion.
“When our hands are tied in life-saving services, like this, because of resources, we do not enjoy our work. Our joy is in serving the patients and helping to save their lives,” Kachuka stated.
NPL uses the annual fun run to assist hospitals in their operations as part of the multiple award-winning media house’s social responsibility. The targeted hospitals are selected randomly, with Mangochi District Hospital having been last year’s beneficiary. n