A series of this year’s Mother’s Fun Run (MFR) Sleepover Challenges earmarked for Ntcheu District Hospital and it’s satelite centres started on Friday.
Chess Association of Malawi president Susan Namangale was the first volunteer to spend a night with women at the district hospital and she has narrated how heart-breaking the experience was.
“After arriving at the hospital, I was touched with the way women were congested in the ward, but the warm welcome from the staff members on duty relieved my pain,” she said.
Namangale added that as individuals, everyone has a role to change society and improve service delivery in hospitals.
“Malawians need to stop thinking that it is the duty of the government alone to make our health service delivery better, everyone has a responsibility, and together, let us save our mothers,” she said.
The Sleepover Challenge is part of MFR, an initiative of Nation Publications Limited (NPL) and its partners, which aims at raising funds for medical equipment to improve maternal and neonatal health service delivery in public hospitals.
According to the 2018 Population and Housing Census, Ntcheu District has about 659 608 people, most of whom seek medical help at the district hospital.
Almost 18 deliveries—both natural and Caesarean section—are made in a day at the hospital.
The hospital also serves patients from Balaka, Dedza and Mozambique.
Despite the high population of those seeking help, the facility remains one of the public hospitals with numerous challenges that impact on safe motherhood.
Ntcheu district health officer Mike Chisema said the hospital’s main challenge is inadequate space for the maternity wing.
“The waiting room is very small and we do not have a specific ward for women with high risk cases, which gives nurses and doctors a hard time to monitor who needs closer supervision.
“If we can have a ward specifically for waiting mothers, then we would save lives as we face a lot of infection prevention challenges with the congestion,” he said.
On population growth in the district, Chisema added: “If this hospital alone has 18 deliveries per day, we are in trouble because our population will grow in no time; hence, the need for action to sensitise and engage people, especially the youth, on the importance of using contraceptives.”
District nursing officer Gloria Magombo said inadequate equipment, such as oxygen concentrators, baby delivery bags, beddings, curtains, drug trolleys, beds, scanning and ultra-sound machines make it hard for people to access quality services at the hospital.
She, however, hailed NPL and its traditional partners for the noble gesture, saying the assistance will help to change the situation in the district’s health delivery system.
Other well-wishers will sleepover challengers will take their turns on July 26, August 9 and 30.
This year, MFR seeks to raise K300 million to improve safe motherhood at Likoma’s St Peter’s Hospital and Ntcheu District Hospital and their satellite centres.