Amref Health Africa has committed K60 million to support the restoration of healthcare facilities in Phalombe and Chikwawa districts, following the devastating effects of Cyclone Freddy which hit the southern part of Malawi. The funds have been provided by Amref Headquarters in Kenya and Amref Austria. This is part of a wider response initiative by Amref Health Africa, aimed at preventing deaths, serious illness, and infections by ensuring the continuous provision of access to essential healthcare to the most vulnerable persons-women, children and young people affected by the cyclone in the districts of Phalombe and Chikwawa.
The passage of Tropical Cyclone Freddy has displaced at least 564,239 people in southern Malawi, many of whom are sheltering in 577 camps. The death toll was reported at 511 and the number of reported missing persons was at 533 as of 25th March according to the Department of Disaster Management Affairs.
Speaking when handing over plumbing materials and medical supplies to Phalombe Health Centre, Country Director for Amref Hester Mkwinda Nyasulu said it is worrisome that health facilities such as Phalombe and Nkhulambe health centres have been closed indefinitely because the structures were damaged by the cyclone.
‘The current healthcare situation is worrying, and we are concerned about people who are having challenges accessing healthcare services due to the cyclone. We are doing our best to support the Ministry of Health to continue providing essential healthcare services in these affected districts.’
‘As Amref so far we have managed to raise K60 million which we are committing to go towards supporting the rebuilding of damaged health facilities in Phalombe and Chikwawa. Today we are presenting these plumbing materials and medical supplies to Phalombe health centre to go towards fixing the water system that has been broken due to the cyclone. Our vision as Amref has always been that of creating lasting health change that’s why our support is focusing on restoring health care delivery to the communities here,’ said Nyasulu.
In his remarks, the Acting Director of Health and Social Services for Phalombe Dr. Sam Sibakwe described the support from Amref as timely. He said Phalombe health centre serves a population of over 50,000 people and that on a daily basis, they assist at least 400 people. Dr. Sibakwe further said with the indefinite closure of the facility means people are now travelling more than 20 kilometres to access health care at Phalombe District Hospital.
‘This support from Amref has come at an opportune time. It will go a long way in rebuilding our health centre especially in restoring our water system which is completely damaged due to the cyclone. As a facility, we still have a lot of areas that need fixing, like electricity, hospital equipment like beds and also the medicine and drugs that we had were all damaged. So we are thankful to Amref for this support and we are calling
on other partners to emulate this example by Amref to assist us in rebuilding this facility so that services resume as soon as possible,’ said Dr. Sibakwe.
Meanwhile, Amref Health Africa has launched an Emergency Appeal seeking One million dollars to assist the households severely affected by the cyclone as well as rebuild the damaged health facilities in the affected districts. Through the appeal, Amref is looking to scale up the response to the health needs such as fixing broken water systems in the health facilities and supply mosquito nets as well as other medical supplies for the families displaced in the camps.