First Lady Madame Chakwera applauds Mzuzu Central Hospital for fighting cervical cancer

* Impressed with health workers’ commitment despite having overwhelming numbers of patients to be attended to

* She cheered the sick and presented gift hampers to patients in the maternity, pediatric and gynecology wards

* And also assorted medical equipment that included 16 sick beds with mattresses, medical gloves and respiratory ventilators

By Rose Cross Mahorya

Malawi’s First Lady Madame Monica Chakwera has commended Mzuzu Central Hospital for doing its best in fighting cervical cancer and encouraged the medical personnel to intensify its prevention awareness.


She visited Mzuzu Central Hospital on Saturday where she cheered the sick and presented gift hampers to patients in the maternity, pediatric and gynecology wards and also assorted medical equipment for the facility — that included 16 sick beds with mattresses, medical gloves and respiratory ventilators.

The First Lady said she was impressed with the commitment of health workers at the facility despite having overwhelming numbers of patients to be attended to.

She applauded them for their continued efforts to deliver quality health services to the populace despite high ratio between increased population and health workers whom she said are not adequate amidst limited space for patients.

“It is true that the population is growing and our structures are still the same,” she said. “The government is working towards expanding the existing health facilities such as hospitals besides constructing new ones to address the challenge of limited space in such facilities.”

She assured that the Ministry of Health will continue employing more health workers to reduce the ratio between patients and medical staff.

Director for Mzuzu Central Hospital, Dr. Ted Bandawe while appreciating the First Lady for her support, appealed to government to construct additional maternity and pediatric wards at the facility, saying the current structures are too small to better serve the growing population.

“We also need more specialised personnel to march with the increasing number of specialized medical cases,” Bandawe said.

On Friday, the First Lady Monica Chakwera joined the commemoration of the 2024 International Women’s Day in Mzimba where she said the occasion should make the country reflect on the gaps which still exist and pose a threat to empowerment of women in various sectors and positions in the society.

Held under the theme, ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress’, the First Lady stressed that women have the potential to achieve great things for their country if empowered and supported.

“For several years, our efforts in empowering women have been faced with serious gaps, amongst them being financial in nature,” she said. “As we gather here to celebrate the strides so far achieved, let’s acknowledge the gaps that exist which are making us not to empower women enough.

“We need to re-energise our vision in uplifting women. I appeal to both local and international partners to render their support to the Ministry of Gender, Community Development & Social Welfare in uplifting women’s livelihoods.”

“Government has increased the number of women in different public positions in an effort to empower women which is a right direction we’ve taken as a nation.”

She said about 12,000 girls in secondary schools are currently on the verge of dropping out of school due to lack of school fees and other necessities and called for more efforts to be put into the education of girls.

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In her remarks, Minister of Gender, Community Development & Social Welfare, Jean Sendeza called for more support in women representation in politics, saying women continue to experience challenges when they aspire to take up various positions.

“It’s becoming harder for women to excel in politics or venture into certain businesses as they experience various setbacks such as name calling. We all have a responsibility in ensuring that women empowerment becomes a reality.

“As a Ministry, we instituted various policies in ensuring women empowerment but only 0.2% of our country’s budget is what is allocated in women empowerment,” she said.

United Nations Resident Coordinator for Malawi, Rebecca Addah- Dontoh said the commemoration of the day should be a reminder for the need of investing in women empowerment as a strategic investment in global prosperity, particularly at a time when the world is facing effects of climate change.

“The United Nations reaffirms its commitment in partnering with Malawi in the reinforcement of the Gender Equality Act to empower women. I would like to acknowledge the recent floods that affected more than 40,000 people in Nkhotakota.

“Such calamities have a profound effect on women, who are usually faced with a great responsibility of ensuring their families survive through such tough times,” Dontoh said.

Representative for non-governmental organisation-gender coordination network, Davie Jodali, applauded the First Lady for her commitment in advancing girls’ education in the country, saying her gesture enables inclusion of women.— Reporting from Mzimba by Tawonga Moyo, MANA