Madonna visits hospital in Malawi to view paediatric unit


Madonna has visited a Malawi hospital, where her charity is funding a children's wing.

The Queen of Pop - who has been in Malawi for a week so far - went to visit Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in the southern African country's largest city, Blantyre, to view the paediatric unit.

Construction started in May 2015 and the unit is expected to open in early 2017.

The star said: "This new facility is the first paediatric surgery and intensive care unit in any Malawi hospital. It will have an enormous impact on saving the lives of children.

Madonna in Malawi
Madonna (Thoko Chikondi/AP/PA)

"In addition to raising the quality and availability of health care, we are also preparing for the future by training more Malawian medical staff in specialised paediatric care."

Answering questions from the press, Madonna said that she does not yet have a name for the new children's wing.

"We don't have a name," she said, "but we have a building and we have dreams and they are going to be manifested very soon."

Madonna is being accompanied two of her children, who were both adopted from Malawi, David and Mercy. Her son Rocco is also on the trip.

The singer said she will continue to work to get the unit the staff and equipment needed.

"It's going to be my responsibility to make sure that this place has the equipment and is fully operational on a regular basis," she said. "So I have a big job ahead of me. Wish me luck."

Madonna's children David and Mercy in Malawi
Madonna's children David and Mercy (Thoko Chikondi/AP/PA)

Asked if she has any more projects for Malawi, she said: "I would like to do one thing really well than many things half-assed, as they say in America."

The children's unit will include Malawi's first paediatric intensive care unit, three operating rooms dedicated to children's surgery, a day clinic and a 50-bed ward. It will enable Queen Elizabeth hospital to double the number of surgeries for children and will provide critical pre-operative and post-operative care.

Raising Malawi was founded in 2006 by Madonna to address the poverty and hardship endured by the country's orphans and vulnerable children.

It partners with local organisations to provide Malawian children and their caregivers with critical resources including education and medical care.