* It’s painful and unacceptable to see the children suffer without adequate facilities
* We had to, in fact, we needed to — we are a Malawian family
* The new facility is set to decongest the main Accident and Emergency (A&E) unit of the referral hospital
* And will ensure that children receive special life-saving treatment and care upon arrival at the hospital
By Duncan Mlanjira
In their philanthropy mission, Meeta and Hitesh Anadkat have donated a monumental and life-changing first phase of a facility for children’s accident and emergency medical services at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre.
Hitesh is one of Malawi’s most revered businessman, investor and philanthropy — who is best renowned as the founder of First Merchant Bank (FMB), which transformed into the African banking group FMB Capital Holdings.
The new facility — at a total cost of over K600 million — is set to decongest the main Accident and Emergency (A&E) unit of the referral hospital and will ensure that children receive special life-saving treatment and care upon arrival at the hospital.
The facility, whose walls have been beautified with child-friendly hand painted murals, comprises several modern treatment areas that include a triage area, where children are assessed upon arrival.
Depending on the nature of the case, treatment will then be provided in one of the many private rooms and also has a functioning high dependency unit (HDU), which is adjacent to the seating area is a newly built — a breath of fresh air to both patients and clinical staff alike.
Alongside it is the first of its kind children’s mortuary, which was built and designed with careful detail and thought, such as the memorable wall mural that provides a semblance of much needed calm during the loss of a child.
Head of Pediatrics, Accident and Emergency Unit, Dr. Jo Langton was at a loss of words, only managing to say she was eternally grateful to the Anadkat family.
Hospital Director, Dr Samson Mndolo — while thanking the Anadkat family on behalf of all staff and clinicians at Queens — said the hospital would now be able to efficiently provide ailing children the urgent attention and treatment they deserve.
In her remarks, Meeta Anadkat said: “It’s painful and unacceptable to see the children suffer without adequate facilities. We had to, in fact, we needed to — we are a Malawian family.”
Asked what motivated them to consider investing into such a huge project, Hitesh Anadkat — a man of very few words — simply said: “The heart.”
The family is known for their continued and long-standing relationship with Queens as previous support includes funding towards construction of the adult Accident and Emergency unit.
According to hospital records, Queens Pediatric Unit caters for around 100,000 children as outpatients annually and around 25,000 children are admitted in a year.
Approximately, 10 children require resuscitation every hour and ssince 2013, the mortality rate has been reduced from 20% to 3%.
Operations in the new building will be enhanced too, as piped oxygen has been provided for to curb preventable deaths. The current addition has certainly lifted the face of the medical facility, which is the biggest referral hospital in the Southern Region and Malawi.
The Anadkats emphasised that they are “honoured to be a part of this legacy that will leave a lasting impact on the Malawian nation for years to come”.
Anadkat family have been noted for their large philanthropic contributions in Malawi and their projects have primarily been in the health, education and prison reform sectors.
Among notable contributions in health include the Anadkat Hostel at Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHeS) — formerl University of Malawi College of Medicine — the Anadkat-Wellcome Trust Adult Emergency and Trauma Centre and children’s ward at Queens.
Anadkat has also been involved in prison reform having publicly decried prison conditions and congestion in Malawi. He faulted magistrates for giving disproportionately large sentences to minor offenders.
In 2020, he constructed the largest prison block in the Malawi Prison Services at the Chichiri Prison in Blantyre.
Anadkat also recognizes philanthropy works of others. He was guest of honour at the inaugural presentation of ‘Award of Excellence’ in September initiated by non-governmental organization, Young Achievers Development (YAD) — which recognised 12 Malawians for their outstanding and crucial individual roles that have helped to change lives of many people.
The colourful ceremony took place at Golden Peacock Hotel in Blantyre and Anadkat commended YAD for organizing the program, saying if the country is to achieve more in different areas, there is a need for people to start recognizing individuals who are always putting other people’s effort at heart by reaching out to them with their resources with the aim of improving their lives as well as contributing to the development of the country.
“Helping each other from the limited resources we have, more especially the needy, the whole society stand a chance of becoming better,” he had said. “So time has come for all Malawians to consider this because those struggling in life can only realize their future through our support.
“Today, YAD has set a good example despite being a small organization and let me take this opportunity to ask other people and companies to emulate such a good gesture so that we make Malawi a better country together by empowering skillful Malawians.”
Hitesh, whose father was also a prominent businessman in Malawi, was born at Queens in 1960 when the country was still under British colonial rule. His father.
Anadkat has a Bachelor of Science (Economics) degree from the University of London and and a Master’s in Business Administration from Cornell University.
After completing his education, Anadkat worked in the United States, eventually starting his own corporate finance firm in Connecticut before returning to Malawi in 1992.
In 1994, Anadkat was granted the first private banking licence in Malawi and established First Merchant Bank (FMB) in 1995 — which proved successful even in its infancy before transforming into FMB Capital Holdings