The United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) today gave the 2017 Mothers Fun Run the thumbs up, making a K6.5 million donation to the fund-raiser it has hailed as key in promoting better health for expectant mothers and their children.
Nation Publications Limited (NPL) has been organising the Mothers Fun Run annually, with the media giant’s business partners and other well-wishers raising millions of kwacha and gifts in kind which have ultimately provided beneficiary district hospitals with state of art equipment and supplies.
The 2017 fun run, the 12th in the series, will this year benefit Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) and its 26 medical facilities in and around Blantyre District.
“We all know that NPL’s core business is news and to see it looking back at the society and supporting maternal health is really commendable. That really shows the degree you would like to accompany yourself with the country’s development agenda,” UNFPA resident representative Dan Odallo saluted NPL, as he presented the donation’s symbolic cheque.
He said UNFPA is happy to be associated with the NPL noble cause to save lives in maternity wards, which are well known to have many needs.
“No one who sees (and hears) these kinds of problems should still ignore them,” Odallo pleaded, urging more organisations and individuals to actively participate towards the charity cause.
Receiving the donation, NPL chief executive officer Mbumba Banda described the aid as a significant boost to the cause and she appealed for more stakeholders to contribute towards the improvement of maternal health in the country.
“We are happy with UNFPA’s donation and we are appealing for more support not only from the cooperate world but also from individuals. We would like to see more individuals coming forward to help mothers in the country attain proper maternal health services,” she stressed.
Banda drove home the magnitude of problems in public hospitals in and around Blantyre by sharing a personal experience she and other volunteers had undergone recently by participating in a fun run-connected Sleep Over fund-raising event that saw the volunteers spending a night in the maternity section of Ndirande Health Centre in Blantyre.
She said the event exposed many shocking experiences being faced by pregnant mothers, including a lack of basics like soap and drugs, few health personnel and limited supplies.
She pointed out that the problems even spread to the health facility’s neighborhood, where the market users were complaining that filthy water and sluice from the hospital was flowing to market because the hospital’s drainage system was clogged.
“So, any help will really be appreciated. We are talking about a disaster in waiting here and we are looking at support towards these facilities even to well beyond this year’s Mothers Fun Run event,” Banda appealed.