On Tuesday, Madonna officially opened the doors to the Mercy James Center and welcomed Malawi’s first pediatric surgery and ICU. The project, built in partnership with the Malawian Ministry go Health, is located at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial capital, and has been in construction since 2014. Before the construction of the new center, there was merely a four-bed intensive care unit for the 1,300 patients that were received daily. This resulted in the lack of critical care needed for all the children that make up 50% of the population.
Madonna established Raising Malawi in 2006 in effort to help the ongoing AIDS and malaria crisis in Malawi that is leaving children orphaned at rapid paces. Often times, even the children get infected with these life threatening diseases. In 2015 alone, 1.8 million kids were tested positive for HIV, which, if left untreated, would later develop into AIDS, killing the child due to various illnesses that attack because of the weak immune system. In 2015 alone, 110,000 children died due to AIDS-related illnesses.
The Raising Malawi organization not only physically treats citizens of Malawi but brings awareness to common diseases such as that of HIV and Malaria by spreading bed nuts and lemongrass plants in efforts to fight against it. According to Organic Facts, “lemongrass is used as a natural insect repellant and helps in preventing the occurrence of insect-borne diseases such as malaria.”
Madonna, who established the organization, has been a huge advocate for improvement of life for the people of Malawi. Back in December of 2016, she performed at Miami’s Art Basel, raising $7.5 million in funds for the hospital. Malawi also happens to be the birthplace of 4 of her adopted children, so naturally, this is close to heart.