Relief at hospital as medicines and supplies are delivered

At a regional health center in Malawi, a nurse and worried parents find reason to be thankful as life-saving medicines and supplies are delivered by World Vision. Too often, the absence of such basic items in areas of poverty puts children’s lives at risk.

Story and photos by Wezzie Banda. Edited by Peter Warski.
Published January 11, 2011 at 12:00am PST

Lucia, 29, brought her 2-year-old daughter, Ruth, to Machinga district hospital after learning that another facility had no medication to give her.Hanna Maunde, child and maternal health coordinator at Machinga district hospital, doesn’t know whether the stock of medicines she has will be enough for all her patients. She’s assigned to a large group of people, predominantly women and children who keep gathering outside her office.

Nevertheless, Hanna keeps calm and decides not to disclose the unpleasant news to the patients, some of whom have traveled a long distance.

An hour later, a pickup truck makes its way into the hospital’s parking lot. A group of people disembark and head to one of the front offices. After a short stint, the visitors are joined by some hospital staff. They smile and shake hands with each other.

News spreads that World Vision is delivering medications to the hospital. Hanna receives the news by clapping and cheering. Relief has finally come.

Basic items, huge impact

World Vision’s local office in Malawi recently acquired a supply of pharmaceutical items from U.S. gifts-in-kind contributions — corporate donations of top-quality products, such as medications, antibiotics, rehydration salts, vitamins, and more.

“We have decided to hand over the pharmaceuticals and medicines we received…to Machinga district hospital and other rural clinics,” says World Vision’s Dan Mtonga. “We believe by doing this, a number of health challenges that people in this area face will be eased.”

Mtonga adds that community development efforts are often hindered by treatable disease. “Our drive is often compromised by diseases that affect [villagers]; for example, diarrhea, worm infestation, and malnutrition.”

Hanna, child and maternal health coordinator at Machinga district hospital, examines little Ruth.Dr. Joseph Chisaka, medical officer for Machinga district, says that about half a million people — including 90,000 children under age 5 — seek medical care at various facilities in the region, where drug shortages are a major problem.

A mother’s relief

Lucia Nasoni, 29, comes from a rural town in the district. Today, she visits the hospital to receive treatment for Ruth, her 2-year-old daughter, who suffers from malnutrition and intestinal worms.

“Yesterday, I went to Nsanama health center to seek medical help, and I was told that the clinic had run out of drugs,” Lucia explains. “I was then referred to this hospital.”

Upon hearing the news that World Vision had just delivered some medicine, Lucia was jubilant.

“Most of us are poor and cannot afford to access the drugs from pharmacies,” she says. “Just imagine what I could have done, had this hospital [also] run out of drugs and World Vision did not come with this support.”

Lucia adds that area children are vulnerable to intestinal worms from contaminated water, open defecation, and eating tainted food.

Medical supplies tied to community development

Meanwhile, Hanna reiterates the connection between access to basic medical care and community well-being.

“People sometimes do travel long distances to access medicine at this hospital,” she says. “As a result, development work in their areas suffers, and this contributes to poverty among many households. There is no way community members can contribute to the development of this country if their families and children are sick.”

Hanna surveys the donated medication her hospital has just received.She says the donated medications will benefit children under the age of 5 most, as their young, fragile bodies are at highest risk for anemia, worm infestation, malnutrition, and other diseases.

“I am a very happy person because I know that with support, I will be able to assist many women and children who have come for treatment, and the quantity of drugs that we have received at this hospital will take us some days,” Hanna says.

World Vision delivered to Machinga district hospital and other clinics 199,500 tablets of Vitamin A, 162,000 tablets of albendazole, and 1,500 bottles of co-trimoxazole and bactrim.

Learn more

Read more about Child Health Now, World Vision’s global campaign to end preventable child deaths.

Three ways you can help

Thank God for the generous support of World Vision’s corporate partners, whose donations help save the lives of children in areas affected by poverty, where lack of access to basic medicines can put them at risk of death from completely treatable ailments.

Make a one-time gift to help provide life-saving medicines and supplies. Your contribution will help ship and deliver donated products from pharmaceutical companies, such as medicines, antibiotics, rehydration salts, vitamins, medical supplies, and other life-saving items.

Sponsor a child in Malawi. Your love and support for a child in need will help establish stability for the present and hope for the future through interventions like medical care.