Patricia Chimangeni is not an athlete, but she run 10 kilometres in Greater Manchester, UK, to raise funds so no life is lost while giving birth in some constrained health facilities.
On May 22, she joined a Woman Arise race by UK-based Malawian women for the benefit of maternity wings at Area 25 Health Centre in Lilongwe and St Patrick’s Heath Centre at Mthunthama, Kasungu.
Chimangeni says the cause motivated her to contribute to saving the lives of pregnant women and newborns.
“I believe that my ability to run can help mobilise funds for this noble cause. After the run, I got some positive feedback for contributing towards the two facilities.”
Chimangeni asks well-wishers to support the two health facilities lacking basic items for mothers and babies.
“We need all the support we can get from individuals and the corporate world to promote safe motherhood,” she implores.
Area 25 Health Centre matron Modesta Nyondo thanks Woman Arise for taking a step to assist the facility lacking electric heaters, suction machines, nebulisers, portable oxygen cylinders and oxygen splitters for newborns. Other needs include angle-poised lamps, examination beds, wheelchairs and patient trolleys.
She explains: “We receive many patients from within Area 25 and surrounding areas.
“This is one of the most reliable and overwhelmed health facilities in Lilongwe. Inadequate resources make it even harder for us to serve our clients, including women and children, better.”
She hopes the race by UK-based women will help deliver necessary equipment for mothers and babies.
At St Patrick’s Health Centre, health workers are concerned about lack of medicine trolleys, weighing scales, digital blood pressure machine, drip stands, digital thermometers, nasal cannulas, vacuum extractors and patient beddings.
Woman Arise co-director Tikha Chimpango says the charity set out to raise K15 million for the two maternity facilities in May and June.
“We hit the road running after learning about the numerous challenges faced by the two facilities from the matron of Area 25 Health Centre and our member who started fund-raising for the facility in Kasungu last year having been inspired by a young British girl who raises funds for the same.
The fundraising race started on May 22 when Chimangeni took part. It was followed by a plank challenge pioneered by Dr Mary Mkandawire.
Mkandawire’s challenge spanned 30 days, throughout June, as part of Woman Arise’s Afrofit mental health and fitness programme.
“We are asking both men and women to join us in the plank challenge this month and help us raise the much needed funds.
“The more people do the planks and raise the funds the more fun it will be but at the same time we are also strengthening our core muscles. We hope people will keep doing the planks for their own physical fitness even after June,” Chimpango appeals.
Besides, Woman Arise held a virtual fund-raiser on June 12.
The charity will donate the proceeds to the target facilities in the first week of July.
Malawi has one of the highest maternal mortality rates globally, currently estimated at 439 deaths in every 100 000 babies born alive.
The Ministry of Health requires every child to be born with the assistance of skilled hands in health facilities.
New mothers are supposed to receive post-delivery care for about 24 hours before being discharged.
But the high pregnancy-related deaths are partly fuelled by lack of space as well as shortage of skilled health workers and birth-related equipment.