Mercy Masoo Country Director for WaterAid Malawi, a non-govermental organisation, will from Thursday, August 18 be part of what several high profile women corporate executives have already done by spending a night at a hospital in Ntchisi District to appreciate the challenges poor mothers are facing in government hospitals.
Dubbed Sleepover Challenge, this is part of Nation Publications Limited’s (NPL) 2018 Mothers Day Fun Run, the newspaper’s annual Safe Motherhood initiative which seeks to curb and reduce unnecessary maternal deaths across Malawi.
This year’s main event of Mother’s Day Fun Run will be held on October 13th in Ntchisi and Masoo will carry out her charity venture at Chinguluwe Health Centre in the district.
As one way of raising more funds, NPL introduced the Sleepover Challenge where volunteer ladies go and spend a night at Ntchisi District Hospital or its surrounding health centre also for them to appreciate the challenges mothers are facing in the hospitals.
Women corporate executives like Dora Mangulama, Temwanani Simwaka, Phyllis Manguluti, Martha Chizuma Mwangonde and Wezi Malonda have already carried out the challenge and last year the British High Commissioner to Malawi Holly Tett joined the Sleepover Challenge by spending a night at Limbe Health Centre.
In an advert placed in The Nation newspapers asking for financial support from the public, Masoo says the country’s public health systems are struggling; the hospitals are understaffed and that medicine and critical equipment are in short supply.
Coming from an NGO that deals with improvement of water, sanitation and hygiene, Masoo attaches her plea for help on safe water.
She says: “People come to health care facilities which have limited or no safe water, poor sanitation and poor hygiene and where women, girls and children lives are at risk. Their health, safety, dignity and well-being are threatened.
“There are cases where women patients and their guardians have to walk long distances to fetch water for their use whilst at the health centre. They are forced to practise open defecation, they bath in makeshift and sometimes open areas and they opt to deliver at home to avoid unpleasant conditions in the hospitals.
“They spend hours and sometimes more than a day without a bath, they acquire other illnesses whilst in the hospital, they spend long queues waiting for their turn to draw water, they are at risk of sexual exploitation and violence and they have no gender sensitive facilities.”
She targets to raise MK20 million and well-wishers can deposit their contributions to Capital City branches of National Bank (account number 1004914208, Swift code NBMAMWMW007) and Standard Bank (number 9100001290409, Swift code SBICMWMX)
Also in support of the NPL Mothers Day Fun Run is cyclist Stewart Kambewa, who intends to cycle 302kms for cause from Blantyre to Lilongwe on September 8.
He shot to fame in 2016 by cycling 1,755kms from Nsanje to Chitipa in eight days to raise funds to build boreholes in selected parts of the country and interestingly Masoo, through WaterAid mobilised other safe water NGO advocates in support of the initiative.
Kambewa’s ride shall start from Chileka Roundabout in Blantyre and will end at Lilongwe City Mall, a distance of 302 kilometers and has been divided in about 5 stretches;
Blantyre to Zalewa – 45km
Zalewa to Chingeni – 63km
Chingeni to Ntcheu – 36km
Ntcheu to Dedza – 70km
Dedza to Lilongwe – 88km
He appeals to donors to turn the kilometers and time covered along these five stretches into funds and is requesting both individuals and companies to choose a stretch or get all the five to sponsor.
Any amount counts and the contributions can be sent to Airtel Money 0993 090 000 and TNM Mpamba 0883 323 232 — both are NPL mobile money accounts and the funds are going direct to NPL.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :