On Monday 13 July 2020 and on Friday 10 July 2020, UNC Project donated medical supplies to Lilongwe District Health Office and Kamuzu Central Hospital respectively, as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The items included: oxygen concentrators, infrared thermometers, ventilator, dual head stethoscopes, three oximeters and boxes of ICU medicines, medical face shields, surgical face masks, N95 respirators, disposable gloves, safety goggles and lignocaine injection vials.
Speaking when making the handover, UNC Project Country Director Innocent Mofolo said the donation was made through partners – Direct Relief International (DRI) from the United States and other well-wishers whom UNC Project asked for assistance.
“As we all know the number of COVID cases is rising every day in Malawi and we all overwhelmed. We noticed the gaps that were in the system hence our request to our colleagues who responded in kind,” he said.
Expressing his gratitude, Hospital Director for KCH Dr. Jonathan Ngoma, commended the spirit of partnership between KCH and UNC Project.
“UNC Project has brought us a lot of support through service delivery, acting as a platform for teaching, health research and international collaboration. As of now we are fighting COVID together and we got financial and material support from UNC Project.
He said as the number of infections was increasing in the country, there was still need for support.
“There was a time when we might have had a few cases and we used a lot of protective personal equipment and at the moment, the supplies are no longer in adequate supply. In essence we ask more well-wishers wherever they are to come forth with their support,” he said.
Speaking when she received the donation, Lilongwe District Health Officer Dr. Alinafe Mbewe thanked UNC Project for the timely contribution in the fight against COVID-19. She said the donation will cover the PPE challenge.
“Lilongwe DHO is doing a lot; We do all the tests for people coming here. We have to take samples of those coming back into the country, fumigation of rooms and burials and all these activities need PPEs as we can’t use common clothes,” she said.
She also lauded the timely coming of the portable oxygen concentrators.
“The oxygen concentrators as well are a timely donation. We need another room at Bwaila so that when we have very sick patients, we can stabilize them first before taking them to Kamuzu Central Hospital. These are the donations that we are in need of as Lilongwe is the epicenter of COVID-19,” she said.
She said there was still a lot of support that was needed in managing the pandemic.
“We need fuel to do contact tracing. We need vehicles and allowances for health workers and personnel protective equipment (PPEs) as sometimes we run short of them when we want to collect samples. We also want to settle some utility bills at the Malawi College of Health Sciences where we isolate positive cases that can’t stay at home. We need to provide food for them and make sure that they have water and electricity. We do have lots of challenges.
At the time of the donation, Lilongwe DHO was only testing those who had shown symptoms or were critically sick so as to save resources.