MRCS presents K43 million COVID-19 equipment to Mwanza hospital

Malawi Red Cross Society

As the country keeps receiving it's citizens from other countries like South Africa, Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) has shot Mwanza District Hospital in the arm by donating Coronavirus (COVID-19) personal protective equipment (PPE) worth K43 million.

The equipment include four tents, 1,500 N-95 masks, and 40,000 surgical masks.

MRCS director of programmes, Prisca Chitsala during the handover ceremony of the equipment on Thursday said it is part of the two projects which include Preparedness for anticipatory and Early action towards effective disaster Response (PEAR) and another one to Prevent, Control and Contain the COVID-19 Epidemic in Malawi in partnership with Danish Red Cross Society but funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection DG ((ECHO).

"Within both projects, procurement of PPEs and other COVID-19 equipment were incorporated. Apart from this support, MRCS is also implementing a number of COVID interventions in the district like supporting the Malawi Government in COVID-19 prevention and control activities," she said.

The donated equipment

The project is being implemented in Lilongwe and Mwanza and Chisala explained why they targeted them.

"With the opening of Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe and continued number of residents returning from other countries through Mwanza border, the respective DHOs are overwhelmed with increasing demand of masks and tents to support screening activities at these Points of Entry.

"MRCS also works with a number of other partners including UNICEF and GIZ strengthening health systems and point of entry activities. Apart from that MRCS, through its network of volunteers, supports a number of districts across the country in creating awareness, promoting handwashing and promote mandatory use of masks as per government recommendations," she said.

One of the donated tents at the hospital- photos by Benjamin Maona

Director of Health and Social Services in Mwanza, Dr. Irene Zuze admitted that they get overstretched and therefore the donation was timely.

"We receive our friends from other countries and we help them accordingly. However, there is always need to have more of these equipments as they are crucial when attending to the returnees. We are there grateful for this support," she said.

Apart from the donations, MRCS also conducts community awareness campaigns on prevention of the pandemic, promoting hygiene and educating the masses on proper hand washing with soap, conducting door-to-door visits, using mobile can publicity, radio jingles and radio programs to disseminate COVID-19 prevention messages.

District Council chairperson, the Chief and others had a chance to inspect the tents

With support from different partners such as GIZ, Irish Aid through UNICEF and Agricultural Transformation Initiative (ATI), MRCS has also refurbished and equipped the COVID-19 / Emergency Treatment Centers at Kamuzu Central Hospital, Dedza District Hospital, Mzimba District Hospital, Mangochi District Hospital and currently Karonga District hospital whose work has just commenced.