A record K88 million and various medical supplies have been raised in this year’s safe motherhood initiative, dubbed Mother’s Fun Run, organised by Nation Publications Limited and its partners, organisers of the annual event disclosed yesterday.
The money and supplies, which include oxygen concentrators, baby weighing machines, uniforms for health workers and beds and mattresses, were yesterday donated to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) and 26 health centres under the Blantyre District Health Office (DHO).
Speaking yesterday at the end of the Mother’s Fun Run event, which took place at QECH ground, Nation Pulications Limited (NPL) chief executive officer Mbumba Banda said the K88 million is the highest amount raised since the beginning of the initiative 12 years ago.
Banda, who is patron of the Mother’s Fun Run initiative, said the money, though it is short of the K150 million which was set, is enough to meet all the requirements at QECH and the 26 health centres earmarked to benefit.
“On the list of requirements for Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and its health centres, there was equipment as well as other items such as furniture, computers and stationery.
With the K88 million that we have raised, we are going to cover most of the requirements,” said Banda. She also expressed gratitude at how partners—both corporate and individuals—continue to support the initiative as a way of doing something about the numerous problems women go through at different stages of their sexual and reproductive health cycle.
“One thing that we are happy about is that very often, once a partner joins the initiative, they don’t leave. Very few have left. Most people, once they join are with us each year and every year, the number of corporate partners is growing, but also, we are getting more individuals participating and that is gratifying,” she said.
On that note, Banda called on organisations and institutions to ‘seriously’ consider adopting a clinic or a health centre as part of an annual corporate social responsibility or community service to ensure long-term sustainability of the cause of caring for mothers and babies.
Guest of honour at the event, British High Commissioner Holly Tett said the initiative is close to her heart as a mother of four because she is aware of how child birth is supposed to be a dignified experience, but said most mothers in Malawi continue to have it the other way because of poor health facilities.
While noting challenges that pregnant women and new mothers continue to face in health facilities, Tett expressed delight with the level of passion that some health workers she encountered when she took part in the NPL Mother’s Fun Run Sleepover Challenge at Limbe Health Centre in Blantyre showcased.
“What was encouraging was to see the kind of dignity and strength of the women when giving birth. I think the UK (United Kingdom) has a lot to learn from the way the process was very natural and lovely, with a lot of support from the community,” said Tett.
Partners who supported the initiative this year include UNFPA, Beata Holdings, Dossani Trust, Standard Bank, Malawi Revenue Authority, Press Trust, Air Cargo, Medical Aid Society of Malawi (Masm), Alliance One, Airtel, Lilongwe Water Board (LWB), Carlsberg, Unicaf University and Nico Life.
Others are World Vision Malawi, Save the Children, TNM, Unitrans, Ernst Young, Delloitte, National Bank, Finca, Candlex, Imperial Marketing and Advertising Agency, Limbe Leaf Tobacco, No Woman Should Die, Teveta and National Construction Industry Council (NCIC). According to the organisers, next year, the initiative will raise funds and medical supplies for Ntchisi District Hospital and its satellite health centres.