WHO hands over K17m worth of industrial cooking pots to Balaka District Hospital

World Health Organization (WHO) has handed over state-of-the-art industrial electric cooking pots to Balaka District Hospital, with global health body expressing commitment to ensuring that there is continuity of essential health services at all levels in Malawi.

The facility has been operating without a kitchen for one year now, following an electric fire from a faulty pot that gutted down the kitchen on July 31, 2020.

The accident rendered the facility incapable of preparing food for its patients and guardians.

Deputy Minister of Health Chrissie Kalamula Kanyasho (right) and Dlamini lift the lid to signify commissioning of the pot–Photos by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

Following the accident, the Deputy Minister of Health and Population, Chrissie Kalamula Kanyasho, visited the hospital barely hours after the incident where the appealed to development partners and the corporate world to help the government in renovating the kitchen.

Speaking during the handover ceremony, which took place at the entrance to Balaka District Hospital on Tuesday, WHO Country Representative, Dr. Nonhlanhla Dlamini, said the donated pots were part of her organization’s response to Kanyasho’s appeal.

“This request was crucial because it was very difficult to cook food for the patients, which is an important part of holistic care. With these modern pots, freshly prepared meals will be provided timely to our patients since good nutrition is paramount for their recovery,” said Dlamini.

She disclosed that WHO bought the three industrial electric cooks pots at a cost of K17.1 million.

The WHO boss further disclosed that the global health body has also donated information and technology (IT) equipment worth K12, 348, 860.20 to the hospital.

Deputy Minister of Health Chrissie Kalamula Kanyasho (right) hoists a cut ribbon to signify commissioning of the pot–Photos by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

“On a wider scale, WHO has been working with the government in supporting the Covid-19 response from the time the world was alerted about the existence of coronavirus on 31st December 2019. Support continues throughout, and even now with the emergence of the different variants named alpha, beta, gamma, delta and lambda. WHO has been part of the team to make sure that all the pillars in the response plan are supported in order to provide a concrete response to Covid-19 pandemic, including the introduction and administration of vaccines,” said Dlamini.

In her remarks, Kanyasho said the gesture by WHO underpins the importance of food in the healing process of patients by improving nutrition status.

The Deputy Minister stated that diagnosis and treatment alone do not help with the fast recovery of patients.

“Patients who are hospitalized and not given food take long to be discharged. This extended bed occupancy does not only translate into additional costs to the government, but also denies other deserving patients access to timely treatment if not lead to overcrowding in wards, which should be avoided,” said Kanyasho.

She added, “The key message I am underscoring here is that the government needs as many partners as possible to assist in the strengthening of the capacity to feed patients in the hospitals. This noble gesture by WHO must be emulated a hundred fold by other partners because Balaka was and is not the only health facility with such needs.”

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