You are probably still reading but I would like to reassure you that this post is no tree of knowledge. It’s posted here simply because I would like to insert pictures into my narrative, and, either I am not email-savvy enough, or yahoo! does not allow photo insertions into text, so again, disregard this one, and I’ll hit you with a little something on Sunday.
Exactly 11months and 2 weeks later, my father died from injuries sustained in a car accident.
-last photo I took with my Dad
Before he died, he was admitted in Kamuzu Central Hospital’s ICU for 3 days. I was his guardian. This allowed me front row view of the various strengths and weaknesses of this particular healthcare department.
After my father’s death, I left the country for a year, but when I came back I could not help but be drawn to KCH’s ICU. I ended up doing a mini-research focusing on the shortcomings of the ICU and providing options of solutions. In 2010, I submitted my findings to the OPC who were very responsive; I talked to then Min. of Finance Hon. Ken Kandodo about the findings, chiefly that there was lack of government initiative in buying equipment for ICUs across the nation- he was appalled and allocated MK250Million to the Min. of Health, specifically for the buying of hospital equipment.
Then the OPC told me that government would do all it can to improve the situation, however, they said the reality was that they could not do it alone…I talked to some friends about collating our efforts to lobby the private sector to channel CSR funds to this particular healthcare need; there was overwhelming response and a sizeable group was formed, representatives of which went to MoH to establish a Memorandum of Understanding regarding our fund-raising and their commitment to the development of ICUs and High Dependency Care Units across the nation.
MoH was not aware of our group; was not aware of our talks with the OPC nor with the Finance minister; and was weary of do-gooders who come with a lot of aplomb but forsake them once they realise the level of commitment required to bring about any fruits.
The press started calling me saying they heard I did a research which had some suggestions for the improvement of our healthcare system but that MoH was not taking it on board; I alerted MoH about the pressure I was getting, however, they were still reluctant to work with us. As the months wore on, our group started disintegrating until, finally, by January 2013, there were just five us. In the meantime, Malawi saw a President die via circumstances that needed urgent and critical care; a commission of inquiry instituted by the current President pointed to the inadequacy of KCH’s ICU, and suggested developing it. The media was all over this story pointing to the fact that there was a group which had made this suggestion and yet was not taken up. MoH accused us of being all talk no action, we accused them of complacency; in the end, the Daily times got an article dubbed “Blame game dogs ICU” out of it…but we still did not have a thistle of development at any of our ICUs. The article was the impetus for MoH and our group to begin talks again, and they found that during the year of silence between us and them, we had not given up but were establishing ourselves as a trust, independently from MoH. I suppose the fact that we had been financing the cause for 3 years gave them a clue about our commitment to seeing it’s fruition. Immediately, they took us on board and gave us the mandate to design, lobby for funding for, and oversee the construction of, an expanded ICU at KCH. We realised we need to formalise taking this new mandate, and working hand in hand with MoH into account. We became icare.
That’s where we are now. June 8th 2013 saw the launch, which was also used as a podium to raise funds for the immediate needs of KCHs ICU, namely medication, bandages etc. We also wanted to honour KCH ICU/HDU staff (31 of them) and each was given a goodie bag.
– KCH representatives accompanied by MoH architect, receiving a meagre token of our appreciation for all that they do.
– Tokens of appreciation pictured on a banner carrying all the sponsors’ logos.
The launch was a great success; why? Because many connections were made with various corporations regarding long term partnerships doing this work; The fundraiser was a miserable failure; why? Because icare overestimated its own clout and was able to bring 130 people, and not 1000, to the dinner, thus only a drop in the ocean was made towards the MK15Million that we had promised KCH for their immediate needs.
What now? Our priority is to finalise registering icare as a legal entity- a charitable trust; at the same time, we are following up on leads made at the launch.