Malawi Health Care Support (MAHECAS), a UK basedcharity organisation that dedicate its services in assisting health provisions in Malawi plans to raise £100,000 for the cancer programme in the southern African country.
This was disclosed by Watipaso Mkandawire, the Project Manager MAHECAS Cancer Project during the dinner and dance fundraiser hosted by the charity at Hilton Hotel in Leicester on Saturday October 25.
The event was attended by dozens of Malawians and friends of Malawi including the outgoing High Commissioner, Bernard Sande.
Addressing the patrons, Mkandawire, said in Malawi, according to research, 9 000 new case of cancer are diagnosed every year and most of those diagnosed die.
“Cancer patients in Malawi requiring radiotherapy are referred to Zambia, Tanzania or South Africa and India if they can afford. The Government pays for some patients to go to India or South Africa. The cost to send a patient to a foreign country like South Africa is not less than $10,000 per patient. Most patients however die without being attended to, and in terrible pain,” said Mkandawire.
He said Malawi has no Cancer Centre but there are plans by government to establish one.
“We can have a building but we will also need human resources, equipment, awareness, medication, supplies etc. According to information from Malawi, we understand there is only one qualified trained cancer nurse in our country. We only have two Oncologists for a population of 16 million and thousands of patients. Cancer patients share same wards with other patients and most hospitals have no diagnostic equipment,” he said.
“We have committed for the next three years to dedicate most of our resources towards supporting the cancer programme in Malawi,” disclosed Mkandawire, an economist working at Commonwealth secretariat.
He said Mahecas intend to identify and source equipment and medicines from UK and send to Malawi.
Mahecas also plan to support awareness programmes and training; support organisations that are providing Palliative (terminal cases) care in Malawi.
He said MAHECAS plan is to raise £100,000 to support cancer programme.
“We need people to commit at least £2 per month by direct debit for the next 1 year towards the cancer programme. Imagine if we had 500 Malawians and well wishers contributing £2 per month. That is £1000 per month and that is £12,000 per year. That can pay salaries of 300 nurses in a month or 25 nurses in a year; or that can pay for over 660 adult sessions of chemotherapy or; can pay for an annual wage of 50 workers; just as an example.
“We cannot continue waiting for donors to do everything for us. Let’s all get together and do our part,” said Mkandawire
He commended the Malawi Association in UK (MAUK) for the first donation of £1,000 towards the cancer programme which was raised through their Malawi Achievers Awards held in March.
Mkandawire said Mahecas intend to undertake more fund raising events in the coming months.
In his speech, outgoing diplomat Sande applauded Malawians in the UK for their benevolence and for continually supporting the needy in Malawi through charity.
“We have to redouble our efforts in fundraising for Mahecas. Let us together build a large and formidable fundraising for this cancer project,” said Sande.
Sande attracted a sombre mood when he used his speech to bid farewell as his diplomatic tour of duty has come to an end after being recalled.
“I leave the UK with fond memories of Mahecas. I am very impressed with your sense of patriotism,” said Sande, adding that he will be a great advocate for Mahecas in Malawi.
According to MAHECAS chairlady Dr Milika Matiti the charity guru [was formed in February 1995 and became a UK registered charity in of September 1996. The sole purpose of MAHECAS UK is to raise money to assist hospitals and medical services in Malawi.
The Voluntary Executive Committee works directly with nurses and doctors in Malawi in identifying needed equipment for their hospitals or Health Centres.
She assured that money raised would not be “cash gated” since the charity has appointed volunteers to monitor and co-ordinate its assistance in Malawi who also ensures that equipment sent is used by the recipient hospital according to the terms and conditions of the charity.
Matiti said membership of MAHECAS UK is not restricted to people in the medical field only – everyone is free to join the society.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :