US pop superstar Madonna on Tuesday took her four adopted Malawian children to the opening of a paediatric hospital wing that her charity has built in their home country.
Standing alongside President Peter Mutharika, she unveiled a plaque to mark the completion of the 50-bed facility in Malawi’s second city of Blantyre. The Mercy James Institute of Paediatric Surgery and Intensive Care — named after one of her children — has taken two years to build and includes three specialist operating theatres.
It is the first health unit for children in the southern African nation, and will doubled the capacity for paediatric care at the Queen Elizabeth hospital.
Earlier this year Madonna, 58, adopted twin girls from an orphanage in Malawi, where she has been a regular visitor for several years. Twins Estere and Stella, four years old, joined her other Malawian children Mercy James and David Banda, both aged 11.
Madonna, who set up her Raising Malawi charity in 2006, was greeted by traditional dancers and given a one-hour tour of the hospital, which was decorated with national flags and bunting. The wards have been designed with murals including images of Nelson Mandela and archbishop Desmond Tutu, while US actor Leonardo DiCaprio was listed on a wall as a major benefactor.
Mutharika cut a blue ceremonial ribbon, and held it up to the cheering crowd.