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Breakfast Friday, 28 February, 2003, 07:10 GMT
Malawi: the Children's Hospital
Claire Sweeney at Mchinji Children's Hospital in Malawi
This was the most upsetting experience, says Claire
For her final report from Malawi, the actress Claire Sweeney visited a children's hospital - and found a glimmer of hope for the future. Read on for Claire's final report, in her own words:


I came to Malawi because I wanted to see for myself the extent of the food shortages and the aids crisis.

But of all the things I saw it was the childrens ward of a hospital that I will remember the most.

Mchinji Hopsital is the only medical facility for miles around.

Mothers only come here if their children are really sick because work on the farm nearly always comes first.

Elizabeth and the other nurses give round the clock feeds to these children. The feeds are a special mix of milk, high protein and medicine.

Astina's story

Elizabeth introduced me to Asitina.

Misosi is Asitina's fifth child. The other four have died - two from measles and two from diarrhoea.

As we left, Elizabeth told me that Misosi would probably not survive. I think that's probably one of the most upsetting things I've ever seen.

There are only ten beds in the ward so the other mothers and babies sleep on the floor.
Queueing at Mchinji Children's hospital
Taking your baby to hospital is a last resort

Improving

Twenty one malnourished children are being treated at Mchinji but last year this room would have been packed.

It's the same story across Malawi - the situation IS getting better. Save the Children is hoping to improve the facilities at hospitals like this all around the country. Most of the children here will get well.

One of them is two- year-old Elube. Since she got here three weeks ago she's put on two pounds. Elizabeth is pleased with her progress so today Elube and her mother Ellen will be able to go home.

It will take all day for Ellen to walk the 20 miles back to the village where he husband is waiting. But she doesn't mind. Ellen told me that now her daughter is well again, she's just very very happy.

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Malawi: the children's hospital
Actress Claire Sweeney's final special report for Breakfast
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27 Feb 03 | Breakfast
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