Diligent mother struggling to service humanity
I try to give the poor people for love what the rich could get for money. No, I wouldn’t touch a leper for a thousand pounds; yet I willingly cure him for the love of God. —Mother Theresa.
She has nurtured and serviced humanity for over 110 years since her birth in 1903.
Accumulation of more years to her means more maturity and more responsibility. In her ripe age, she still services more than 42,000 people that come from the surrounding areas. Just as motherhood nurtures life, her diligence and commitment to serving humanity has earned her trust from people as far as Bangwe Township in Blantyre.
Despite this growing responsibility, she lacks a lot such that her needs are conspicuous when you visit her.
Some rooms that she uses to treat her patients are dotted with bare beds, empty of mattresses. Instead of using oxygen concentrators to treat her patients, she uses oxygen cylinders.
The laundry department that cleans the beddings and materials that her patients use does not have a washing machine. Instead, her staff wash all the patients’ beddings with hands, exposing them to dangers of contracting diseases that brought the patients to her for treatment.
Such is the plight of St. Joseph Mission Hospital in Nguludi, Chiradzulu.
According to the hospital nurse/midwife who we found on duty on Saturday, Kitty Banda, the demand for services from the hospital high, higher than it can meet. This is partly due to failure of local communities to pay for the services that the hospital renders.
“Most of the patients that patronise this hospital come from surrounding areas where poverty levels are high. They sometimes disappear without paying while others just pay half of the bill. This puts the hospital in an awkward situation where we fail to raise enough funds to procure essential equipment to service our patients effectively,” Banda said.
She said the Service Level Agreement that the hospital undertook with government caters for the maternity wing where pregnant women access maternal services for free.
Being a Christian Health Association of Malawi (Cham) hospital, the rest of the services have to be paid for. But that some patients from surrounding villages fails to settle all the hospital bills and that others bolt, make things hard for the hospital. It cannot suspend the services because patients are failing to pay. It has to make do with anything to service poor people for love what the rich get for pay.
This is what moved one local organisation, For a Change, when it visited the hospital for a donation in February 2017.
As part of recognising the role that mother plays in nurturing life, the organisation donated 20 mattresses and blankets worth K800,000 to the hospital on Saturday as part of cerebrating the Mothers’ Day.
For a Change Project Coordinator, Annemarie Simango Kot, said the circumstances are not nice for mothers in the country and St. Joseph Hospital in particular.
“Mothers walk long distance to patronise the maternity wing here. The numbers of patients that this hospital receives to treat keep growing. This is the reason we thought we should do a special event for this hospital just to show that we really respect them and help the hospital serve them better,” Simango Kot said.
Besides the mattresses and blankets, the organisation also handed in packets of Mothers’ Day wrappers, children clothes, orange squash bottles, soaps and other assorted items to patients in the maternity wing and children’s ward.
For a Change was established in 2015 and is funded by well-wishers that are based in Netherlands. According to the Malawian Board Chair, Sadik Malunga, their programmes range from helping needy families, establishing infrastructure, supporting education needs and responding to emergencies.
“We are currently running our projects in Kwanjana Village in Thyolo which is not far away from Nguludi. That’s why we felt it necessary to reach our hand to this hospital. The hospital administrator requested us in February when we came and distributed some assorted items to the patients if we can manage to help with mattress,” Malunga said.
All Cham hospitals operate as private entities but due to their being remotely situated, they end serving poor communities that fail to pay for health services. As we cerebrated Mothers’ Day on Saturday, let us remember and try to give the poor people for love what the rich can get for money.
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