(Reuters) – Madonna was hailed as a “symbol of a motherly spirit” by Malawi President Peter Mutharika after the American singer opened a children’s hospital named after her adopted daughter Mercy James.
The Mercy James Institute for Paediatric Surgery and Intensive Care located in Blantyre, Malawi’s second-largest city, is the first such facility built in the country by Madonna’s charity Raising Malawi.
“We will ensure that not only will it be a world-class children’s hospital, but also a superior centre of learning. This is as much about healing as it is about empowerment,” Madonna said at the hospital’s official opening.
The singer adopted Malawian children David Banda and Mercy James in 2006 and 2009 respectively and twins Esther and Stella Mwale earlier this year. She has two other children, Lourdes and Rocco, from previous relationships.
Speaking at the event, Mercy James drew applause and ululation from the crowd after saying: “Many kids and many lives will be saved. Thank you mum, you’re the bomb.”
Madonna established the non-profit Raising Malawi charity in 2006 to provide health and education, particularly for girls. The charity has built 10 schools in Malawi, according to its website.
Madonna criticised Malawi’s slow pace of law reform, saying it nearly prevented her from adopting Mercy James.