I do not intend to praise Patience Namadingo for his remarkable gospel music career, but to acknowledge the unique effort he took to raise funds in aid of less privileged children undergoing cancer treatment at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre.
For years, cancer has been ravaging Malawians both young and old.
While some people seem to think it is a menace for the affluent, anyone can suffer from the malignant disease.
However, it feels more heart-rending when it is children.
At QECH’s Cancer Ward, one is greeted by the sorry sight of children with swollen cheeks and limbs. Their guardians suffering too and the hospital is struggling to contain the situation.
While the disease itself is traumatising, the referral hospital, just like many government institutions, is grappling with underfunding which cripples service provision.
Namadingo had his fair share of the heartbreaking cries of children in agony who sometimes sleep on the floor due to lack of beddings.
He has used his guitar to raise funds for the ward.
He used the money to buy basics for the children.
In Malawi, rhetoric is an everyday song when it comes to addressing critical issues, including cancer.
Politicians and government officials know the gravity of the disease as the country’s healthcare system keeps flying patients to Tanzania, South Africa, India and other countries with better facilities.
Sadly, they do not act swiftly.
The gaps in cancer treatment have been reported many times, but the country has been slow to establish a facility which will guarantee everyone quality cancer treatment.
The results of government’s indecision are there for all to see: hospitals without beds and mattresses as well as shortage of essential drugs and skilled health workers.
But government alone cannot address the situation.
Malawians with the financial muscle and a heart to give can help create a better environment for patients by donating to hospitals as did Namadingo.
The selfless musician thought it wise to embark on a string of invitational gigs to support the children in pain. What a gesture!
Using his guitar and personal resources, he hoped from one workplace to another—even pubs—to raise money for some of the essential goods that the young patients require to make their lives easier.
If only all well-off Malawians had a heart like Namadingo’s, the needy would have true friends indeed.
The press and social media enthusiasts are always bombarded by tales of young Malawians desperately looking for funds to access expert treatment abroad or to continue with their education. Sadly, their pleas have largely fallen on deaf ears.
Much as government has the obligation to provide for its citizens, the citizenry can supplement its efforts by helping in some areas as Namadingo has done.
If one has money to spare and donate to an orphanage, why not doing that?
If one has the means to support a young citizen looking for tuition fees at some university, why not lend a hand?
In May, Namadingo set the pace when it comes to rendering a hand to those in need. Let’s build on that momentum to increase the scope.
Namadingo had a good reason to come to the rescue of the children at QECH.
Others should do their part by supporting those he could not reach.
There is no better way Malawians would help the nation than helping their fellow Malawians in need.
This is why Namadingo deserves more praise than any amount of words can deliver. n