British High Commissioner Holly Tett yesterday led hundreds of people who ran from Delamere House to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre to raise awareness on safe motherhood in a Mother’s Fun Run organised by Nation Publications Limited (NPL) and its partners. Prior to the Fun Run, over 30 runners, both male and female, covered a 12-kilometre marathon from Mpemba Health Centre Turnoff to Delamere House between 6am to 7.20am.
At Delamere, they were welcomed by hundreds of others who were getting ready for the main run, as well as Malawi Defence Force (MDF) Brass Band, which spiced up the event.
Ten minutes after 8am, Blantyre district commissioner (DC) Bennett Nkasala declared the start of the 2017 Mother’s Fun Run.
The runners started eating the distance using the Haile Selassie Road before branching into Chipembere Highway all the way to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, where the main event for the day took place.
During the Fun Run, some runners were singing songs in rhythm to the drumming of the MDF Brass Band while others interacted with old friends as well as making new friends.
Photo- taking opportunities were also available throughout. Upon arrival at QECH, Tett, who was the guest of honour, together with other delegates, who included NPL chief executive officer (CEO) Mbumba Banda, NPL board members and staff, NPL partners, Blantyre district health officer Dr. Medson Matchaya and Blantyre City Mayor Councillor Wild Ndipo were taken on a tour of Gogo Chatinkha Maternity Care Support. During the tour, the guests presented hampers to pregnant women and new mothers in the section.
Each hamper consisted of washing soap, bathing soap, body lotion, sugar, salt and soya pieces as well as K5 000 cash. From the ward, the guests returned to the ground for activities that included decoration of long distance runners with medals, traditional dances, a live performance by Mibawa Band, speeches and presentation of donations by partners and speeches.
One of the partners, TNM acting CEO Eric Valentine, whose organisation donated K2.1 million towards this year’s Mother’s Fun Run, said they always look for opportunities to support the country’s health system.
“As such, we noted that Nation Publications Limited has shown unwavering commitment to supporting safe motherhood for Malawian mothers through its Fun Run initiative; hence deciding to partner them towards achieving this goal,” said Valentine.
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) representative Dr. Dan Odallo said it is encouraging that many private sector companies are joining safe motherhood initiatives to ensure that mothers live a better life.
“Adequate health care is everybody’s right and it makes sense for the private sector to invest in the improvement of maternal health,” said Odallo whose agency has invested over K20 million in this year’s Mother’s Fun Run.
In an interview at the end of the event yesterday, Tett said the Fun Run was ‘really’ good fun and it was encouraging to see how people came to support safe motherhood—the opportunity for mothers to deliver their babies safely.
NPL and its partners conduct the annual Mother’s Fun Run to mobilise resources to improve safe motherhood in the country’s public hospitals. Resources that have been collected in this year’s fun run were yesterday donated to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and its 26 health centres.