By Duncan Mlanjira
There was ESCOM power failure on Wednesday at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and the gensets also failed creating a crisis whereby the kitchen could not provide evening food for patients in the wards.
Upon being informed of the crisis, Malawi Relief Fund (MRF) UK responded swiftly and funds were mobilized to buy relief food packs that were delivered by 19:30 hours at the paedriatic wards.
The food items by MRF UK included 500 packs of readily cooked food packs prepared by Kips Restaurant and also youghurt as dessert.
Country coordinator Yakub Valli said they felt duty bound to assist as soon as the SOS from Queens reached them through social media.
“We thank our donors in UK as well as from Malawi for their swift response to provide the funds and to our army of volunteers who came over to distribute the food.
“We decided to assist the children’s ward because these are the most vulnerable and that is why we brought in some children volunteers for them to appreciate the challenges patients and staff face here at Queens,” Valli said.
Malawi Relief Fund UK is a NGO charity registered in the UK and Malawi aimed at alleviating poverty in Malawi.
Since its establishment, it has been working in Central and Southern Regions of Malawi for the past 10 years.
In November last year, MRF-UK partnered with Islamic Zakaat Fund (IZF) by investing over K900 million over a period of 4 years to provide financial support for 224 underprivileged Malawian students to complete higher tertiary education in various universities and colleges across the country.
Meanwhile, Muslim Youth United (MYU) also delivered bread, milk, biscuit for 800 patients and multiple meals for staff in the two pediatric wards which this philanthropy arm of Muslims in Malawi adopted and named ‘We Care’ wards.
MYU also provided firewood for immediate meal cooking, extra firewood for future emergencies and 6 high-quality emergency lights.
MYU chairperson Abdullah Panjwani applauded their various donors and volunteers for their “warm and heartfelt gesture” after learning of the power failure that rendered the kitchen not to prepare evening food.
MYU was established in 2014 as a WhatsApp group that later turned to philanthropy and since its inception, and has undertaken many empowerment projects.
The two ‘We Care’ wards at Queens are being brilliantly been taken care of by the team that has been assigned to see to their needs and wants.
“Regular checks are made by MYU members, and enquiries are very often conducted with senior authorities of the wards to ensure that our funds and our donors’ hard-earned contributions are being correctly used and channeled,” Panjwani said.
“Since the beginning of 2020, some of the major contributions and refurbishments that we have been able to contribute towards the development of the wards are fresh coats of paint for the ward buildings and rooms; plumbing repairs and weekly visits to the children and their guardians with healthy snacks and other provisions.”
Panjwani said they also provided a new washing machine; new chairs and benches for the nurses quarters and the waiting area and installed new curtains and bed covers.
Last year, MYU included a feeding programme at Queens every Wednesday in which they supplied food items for the kitchen to prepare either rice with beef, or with soya pieces or chicken stew and they also supply milk and other food supplements such as Chiponde.
As part of their celebration of the Eid al-Adha Festival of the Sacrifice August last, the grouping donated 273kgs of meat to Queens and that’s when they came up with the feeding programme.
As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March, the grouping donated health products for the wards that included 1,000 face masks, 50 washing stations, liquid dispensers and disinfectant fluids.
Last December, the grouping also donated physiotherapy equipment to Kachere Rehabilitation Centre, MACOHA and FEDOMA in Blantyre that included 120 wheelchairs, 20 walkers and 100 walking sticks.
And in September last year, MYU organised a Blood Donation Camp at Mpingwe Sports Club in conjunction with Malawi Blood Transfusion Service, National Muslim Students Association, Pakistan Welfare Association and Limbe Muslim Jamal Bilal Trust.