Anadkat hands over new QECH emergency centre

The Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Research Trust and the Anadkat Trust on Monday officially handed over the new Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) Adult Emergency and Trauma Centre building worth over K200 million to the Malawi Government.

The new trauma centre is expected to reduce the death rate among emergency admissions, provide a disaster preparedness facility that can cope with major incidents, offer two theatres, X-ray and ultrasound facilities, a laboratory and a pharmacy among other things.

The Anadkat-Welcome Trust Emergency and Trauma Centre building project was jointly funded project by the two trusts.

Chairman of the Anadkat Trust, Hitesh Anadkat, said during the handover ceremony that in April 2009, Dr. Muza Gondwe of the College of Medicine in Blantyre had informed him that Wellcome Trust’s efforts to build a world class emergency and trauma centre had stalled.

Moral obligation

Anadkat said that he was informed that the project would cost K200 million to complete and that following his meeting with Dr. Gondwe, he decided to help.

“I had seen the previous emergency unit of this hospital and it always used to pain me. It was wholly inadequate and had the feel of a run-down bus stop yet this was where hundreds of patients were to report on a daily basis in their time of trauma and illness,” he said, adding that he inspired to help by the realization that his family would be helping thousands of people “for many years to come”.

The Anadkat family, which owns the First Merchant Bank, among some of their huge investments, has been in Malawi for 90 years, according to the Anadkat Trust chairman.

He said while it was not a legal obligation, they still find it a moral obligation to return to the society some of the benefit they have received it.

“As businessmen, we do not work in isolation. We are part of the environment in which we function. We derive considerable benefit from that environment and have a moral duty to return to the environment some of the benefit we have received,” he said, acknowledging “partners in the endeavaour” for their efforts.

He said the project was conceived and promoted by the Wellcome Trust and that it was his trust’s privilege to partner the “venerable institution”.

“Rob Heyderman (Wellcome Trust Director), with his energy, patience and tact, has been a pleasure to work with,” said Anadkat.

Effective

In his remarks, Dr. Heyderman said the handover was an auspicious moment considering that the Wellcome Trust has been funding research since the 1980s when the centre was housed in building “a little more than a shed”.

He said the new facility will be able to adequately treat critically ill patients quicker and effectively. He recalled that the Trust was funded with 500 pounds sterling in the old days under Dr Molyneaux.

“It was a large amount in those days but we need more. It’s our hope that you will come and help wherever you can,” said Heyderman.

From disorder to order

Chief Hospital Administrator Dr. Andrew Gonani acknowledged the contribution from the Ministry of Health and the Government of Malawi in form of personnel and equipment “to work.”

“This marks a sea change in attitude from disorder to order; where Malawi sets the standards, everyone should say this is where it’s done best in services and learning,” he said.

The 300-bed hospital treats 450,000 patients a year.

The foundation stone for the hospital was laid by Lord Llewellin PC, CBE, MC, TD, DL Governor General of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. It was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother opened the Rose Garden presented by the Rotary Club on July 19, 1957.

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