President Peter Mutharika has told American pop star and philanthropist Madonna that she is now an adopted daughter of Malawi after she opened a children's hospital named after her adopted daughter Mercy James.
The Malawi leader speaking on Tuesday July 11 2017 when he officially opened the magnificent Mercy James Centre for Paediatric Surgery and Intensive Care at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, hailed the humanitarian pop star as a "symbol of a motherly spirit".
The President thanked Madonna and all her 20 partners for making the centre a reality saying it will help give Malawian children better treatment and advance research in malaria.
"You started by adopting four Malawian children and now we adopt you as a daughter of Malawi. You came to Malawi saw a need and provided care for the children. This facility is a national pride," he said
Mutharika emphasised the need to invest in children who make 50 percent of the population saying they are the most precious gift of the society.
Madonna, who wore a vibrant floral skirt for the occasion with a black cardigan and a series of gold bangles, built the children's hospital with money from her Raising Malawi Initiative.
In her remarks, Madonna said she was delighted to see her dreams come true and encouraged the spirit of perseverance.
Speaking about her desire to build the medical facility, Madonna has said:: "Today I wanna celebrate the beautiful spirit of inspiration I found in Malawi. This is my second home. I have achieved so many things I never imagined I could do in my life like building a paediatric centre in Malawi, raising six children four of them Malawians. I therefore urge you to never give up on your dreams and never stop fighting for what you believe in".
The songstress adopted Malawian children David Banda and Mercy James in 2006 and 2009 respectively and twins Esther and Stella Mwale earlier this year. She has two other children, Lourdes and Rocco, from previous relationships.
At the ceremony, Madonna gave Mercy a big hug, planted a kiss on Stella's forehead and affectionately nuzzled into David's neck during the opening ceremony.
Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume described the centre as a perfect demonstration of a perfect collaboration between Madonna, Raising Malawi and the Malawi government.
He suggested that the centre should also be carrying cardiac surgeries on children to minimise the overwhelming demand to send them abroad due to lack of equipment and expertise in the country.
"I appeal that this should also be a cardiac surgery centre for children. Currently we have 247 patients waiting to be referred abroad 76 of which are children and 68 of these children have heart problems, we want these surgeries to be done right in this country so that many lives are saved," said Kumpalume.
The centre which has 56 beds comprises three theatre rooms, Intensive care Unit, High Dependence Unit, 46 main wards and a recovery ward. It is estimated that 700 surgeries will be conducted at the centre each year.
The facility has been named The Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care - after Madonna's 11-year-old daughter - and is located at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi.