Nation Publications Limited (NPL), through its Mother’s Day Fun Run project, has today donated medical equipment worth K30 million to Mchinji District Hospital.
The equipment includes mattresses and oxygen concentrators, delivery sets, thermometers, and stethoscopes.
It is envisaged that the equipment will help improve maternal health in the district whose maternal deaths are estimated at 300 per 100 000 births.
Speaking during the handover ceremony in Mchinji, NPL chief executive officer Mbumba Banda said Malawi is faced with a great challenge to improve maternal heath.
She noted that Malawi’s maternal death rate, estimated at around 550 deaths per 100 000 births, is one of the highest in Africa, and, therefore, needs to be checked.
“These deaths are unnecessary and can be prevented. Maternal death denies a woman’s right to life and health.
“It also compromises the rights of the rest of the family, as it more often than not, leads to family impoverishment, siblings being obliged to assume household responsibilities and drop out of school,” said Banda.
Banda also called for collective efforts towards the cause, saying such efforts must focus on making pregnancy and childbirth safer.
The NPL chief, then, thanked various partners that supported this year’s activity. They include Press Trust, Dossani Trust, Standard Bank, FMB and Maikhanda.
On her part, UN Resident Representative Mia Seppo commended NPL for being relentless in contributing to maternal and new born health in Malawi.
She noted that girls are beginning child birth much earlier than they should, resulting in preventable deaths.
“The 2014 national analytical report on maternal death review covering the period 2008-2012 revealed that 30 percent of those who died were girls aged between 13 and 23 years.
“This is not acceptable and we have to stop it by making sure that they have access to information and services to delay child birth and most importantly stay at school,” she said.
Seppo also bemoaned that lack of equipment and supplies in hospital and health centers is significantly contributing to maternal deaths.
However, she expressed optimism that activities such the Fun Run demonstrate the capacity that different players have in mobilizing resources to improve maternal health.
Speaking earlier, Mchinji District Health Officer Dr Chimwemwe Banda said the hospital is faced with many challenges, and the donation will go a long way in improving maternal health in the district.
Today’s Fun Run started with a 20 kilometre marathon from Kamwendo to Mchinji District Hospital.
Runners were awarded medals of appreciation and include Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) managing director Gospel Kazako and Charllote Malonda of the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC).
Launched in 2005, the project aims at promoting safe motherhood and fight maternal and infant deaths through provision of much-needed healthcare items to needy rural government hospitals and healthcentres around Malawi.
The Mother’s Day Fun Run rotates around the country every year and the beneficiaries that are selected are those in districts with the highest maternal and infant mortality rates.
Next year’s event will be held in Mzimba.
NPL staged its first wholly-sponsored Mothers Day Fun Run in 2005 for the benefit of the Kangaroo Ward at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre. It donated incubators, drip stands and chairs worth K300,000.
In 2006, the project raised K1.2-million for Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe where geysers, drip stands and assorted medical equipment were donated.
In 2007, the Fun Run raised K1.5-million for Mzuzu Health Centre where incubators and other items were donated.
In 2008, it raised K3.3-million towards the purchase of oxygen concentrators, suction machines, blood pressure machines, kidney dishes, and assorted medical utilities for Zomba Central Hospital.
In 2009, Dedza District Hospital benefited from K4.5-million worth of items including beds and mattresses, resuscitaire, oxygen concentrators, kidney dishes, blood pressure machines and wheel chair,among others.
K7.5-million was raised for Karonga District Hospital in 2010 which Areceived donations of hospital beds and mattresses, oxygen concentrators, blood pressure machines, kidney dishes, suction machines, Doppler machine, and other items.
2011 was a year for Thyolo District Hospital and Thekerani Health Centre. They benefited from K8.5-million worth of donations, including a resuscitaire, ultrasound machine, laryngoscope, electric autoclaves, oxygen concentrator, anaesthesia machine, Kocher forceps (amniotic
hooks), a hematocrit centrifuge machine, manual kiwi vacuum extractors, Doppler machines, suction machine, electric vacuum extractor, kidney dishes, nappies, mosquito nets, blood pressure machines and other items.
In 2012 Nkhotakota District Hospital and its rural establishments of Dwambazi Rural Hospital and Malowa, Katimbiri and Nkhunga health centres benefited from an oxygen concentrator, resuscitaire, infant warmer, ultrasound scanning machine, hospital beds and mattresses,
cellular blankets, printed bed sheets, Doppler machine, delivery beds with mattresses, gumboots, manual vacuum extractor and other items valued at K16-million.
In 2013, Mothers Day Fun Run benefitted Rumphi District Hospital, David Gordon Memorial Hospital, Chitimba Health Centre and Katowo Health Centre in Rumphi.
The project raised up to K21-million worth of items including resuscitaires, oxygen concentrators, electric vacuum extractor, electric autoclave machines, Kiwi vacuum extractors, Doppler machines, electric suction machines, digital blood pressure machine, delivery
sets, plastic cord clamps and other assorted items.
About K100 million has so far been raised in the project.