The Covid Response Private Citizens Initiative Malawi
Commonwealth Point of Light 178. Thandiwe Majenda Hara
Dr Thandiwe Majenda Hara, representing Malawi, is deputy lead of 'The Covid Response Private Citizens' initiative, which has been vital in supporting the Malawian government’s pandemic response.
The second wave of the ‘COVID-19’ pandemic in Malawi has hit the country extremely hard, with record number of admissions and deaths. The health system was overwhelmed as there were not enough cylinders and concentrators, which are essential for the supply of oxygen to Covid patients, as well as PPE and diagnostic kits. Dr Thandiwe helped bring together a team of eight members – comprising herself, Dr Victor Mgonjetsi Saidi Mithi, Masankho Stable Mbizi, Polesana Alengantchoni Tembo, Trinity Madalo Kubalasa, Kumbukani Kuntiya, Isaac Wana, McWilliams Mhone – to establish an initiative in support of the pandemic response.
‘The Covid Response Private Citizens Initiative’ spearheaded a crowdfunding campaign that has raised nearly £207,000 to enable the purchase of oxygen cylinders and associate items, PPE and assorted hospital equipment for distribution in main hospitals across Malawi. The initiative, which has been characterised by utmost transparency, accountability, and efficiency in its dealings, also bought food to health works, fixed ambulances and is on course to repair some damaged infrastructures in hospitals that have expressed the greatest need.
David Beer, British High Commissioner to Malawi, said:
“COVID-19, particularly the second wave, has had a serious impact on Malawi through loss of loved ones and damage to the economy. At a time when the resilience of the country’s health system was seriously tested, this citizen’s initiative complemented Government’s efforts to fight the pandemic in a timely and very effective way. Fighting COVID-19 needs every one of us to act, and the efforts of the Citizen’s Initiative should serve as an inspiration to us all.”
Deputy Lead Organiser for the initiative, Dr Thandiwe Majenda Hara, said:
“This initiative brought together primary school children, alumni from secondary schools and universities, struggling single parents, hardworking small businesses, big banks, the religious fraternity, the media, political figures, plus Malawians at home and abroad. All these diverse individuals had just one mission between them. Saving Malawians from the deadly virus.
“As a team, we can’t claim we deserve this award any more than the members of the public who brought the initiative to life. The award captures what it means to be “Malawian”. That is to stand up and do something about a situation rather than to wait for help, to be proud to do something for the nation, to jump in and to be part of it!
“I dedicate the award to each and every one of the Malawians who demonstrated what it means to be Malawian. You are the stars. On behalf of all these people, I say thanks to her Majesty’s Government for recognising these outstanding citizens.”
Pictured below: the work of the initiative in action, and British High Commissioner to Malawi, David Beer, with seven of the members behind the initiative