Blantyre, Malawi, Nov. 25 (MaraviPost) _ US pop diva Madonna, who returned to Malawi Wednesday for the first time since her acrimonious fall-out with former president Joyce Banda last year, Thursday launched a two-storey 50-bed pediatrics ward at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in the commercial capital, Blantyre.
“The new facility will double the number of surgeries for children performed at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and will provide the first dedicated pediatric intensive care unit in the country,” Sarah Ezzy, Director for Raising Malawi – the charity she created in 2006 for her Malawi cause, said.
Banda, whose sister Anjimile Ntila-Oponyo used to run Raising Malawi charity until her sacking over financial impropriety, stripped the ‘Material Girl’ star of her VVIP status forcing her to check into her private jet at Kamuzu International Airport as an ordinary passenger.
But the new president Peter Mutharika, who beat Banda at the May polls, has restored Madonna’s VVIP status.
“We welcome Madonna as guest of the government and people of Malawi,” said State House Press Secretary Frederick Ndala. “The President appreciates the charity work she is doing for the people of Malawi.”
Madonna is scheduled to hold talks with President Mutharika on Friday at his official Kamuzu Palace in the capital, Lilongwe.
Madonna’s 12-member travelling party includes sons Roco John Ritchie and David Banda and daughter Mercy Chifundo James.
She periodically visits Malawi, often with all her children – including daughter Lourdes who has not made the trip this time around. She funds a number of orphanages, including Home of Hope in the western border district of Mchinji where she got David, and Kondanani Children’s Home in the southern tea-growing district of Thyolo.
She is also building a number of schools and a pediatric ward at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre which she is scheduled to visit during Her trip.-MaraviPost