Mangochi — Mangochi District Council has hailed a local NGO, Community Initiative for Self-Reliance (CISER), for donating bicycle ambulances to Village and Group Village Heads in Senior Chief Mponda to help pregnant mothers get to hospital in time when need arises.
District Community Development Officer (DCDO), for Mangochi, Anthony Zimba, applauded CISER on Saturday when the NGO donated ambulance bicycles to 20 Village and Group Village Heads from Senior Chief Mponda area in the district.
Zimba described CISER as one of the most reliable NGOs complementing the Council's efforts in promoting safe motherhood in the district.
"As Mangochi district council, we are very grateful for the role CISER plays in promoting safe motherhood in the district; this is not the first time the NGO has made such donation," said Zimba.
He appealed to the chiefs who have received the bicycle ambulances to take good care of them and to use them solely for the intended purpose.
According to CISER Executive Director, Joseph Makwakwa, the NGO has donated over 100 bicycle ambulances to chiefs under the jurisdiction of Senior Çhief Mponda over the past five years.
Makwakwa said his organization, which is funded by an international NGO based in
Netherlands, Transport for Transport (T4T), saw the need to make the donation after seeing how pregnant women in rural areas suffer to access transport to hospital.
"Apart from Mangochi District Hospital, we only have Monkey Bay Community Hospital and Koche Health Centre but distances to those health facilities from various rural areas in Senior Chief Mponda is 30km to 50km," explained Makwakwa.
He added, "Most of these areas cannot be accessed by car and those bicycle ambulances will help bridge that gap."
T4T Central Africa Coordinator, Rick Mwenyewe, concurred with Makwakwa saying his organization conducted a survey and noted the gap that required immediate filling.
According to Mwenyewe, the 20 bicycle ambulances have cost T4T nearly K9million.
He said T4T will consider making further contributions of the bicycle ambulances to the rest of the chiefs in Senior Chief Mponda.
One of the recipients of the bicycle ambulances, GVH Michesi, also hailed CIZER for the
donation and he appealed to his fellow chiefs to utilize the bicycle ambulances so that no pregnant woman in Senior Chief Mponda fails to access medical assistance due to transport challenges.