By Thula Chisamba
Healthcare is an important aspect of life for all peoples of the world and at times, economies of the world invest astronomial sums of money in making sure that people’s rights to proper healthcare are addressed.
However, the people of Mzimba disctrict in the Northern Region of Malawi have a different story to tell.
Shocking revelations indicate that government has turned its back on local residents and intends to suspend operations Madise Health Center due to lack of funding.
Inside information suggests that the ministry of health has stopped supplying Madise Health Center with drugs for a period of five months to date.
Further investigations in the matter indicate that the government withdrew most healthy workers from the hospital leaving people hopeless in the area.
It is just a few months ago when the entire nation lamented government decision to withdraw nurses from the already dismal work force.
Local residents told The Malawi Star that they only have two health attendants who cannot manage to treat serious illnesses for the entire community because they are specialized pediatricians.
Speaking with The Malawi Star, Ian Zimba a patient at Madise Health Center attested to the fact that the two medical personnel were not enough to assist the entire community with respect to the fact that they were pediatricians.
The problem has forced pregnant women around the area to turn to traditional methods for deliveries.
He said, “While we respect locally trained “Azamba” (midwives), we are also forced to consider situations where highly trained medical personnel are required to address other complicated situations. The precarious realities of this negligence in our health system will in the long run put a lot of lives at risk as well as impede on the little progress that our health system has made so far.”
Local residents told our reporter that some people have to travel long distances jut to get the health center and sometimes pregnant women have to cope with the burden of grueling walks to the center.
There is serious need for this clinic to be fully operational and immediate provision for an ambulance so that patients who require immediate attention might have access to medical attention before their condition threatens their sovereign right to life.
Tamara Mwanza who is currently eight months pregnant loathed the fact that all pregnant women are told to come for maternity assistance only when they are about seven and half or eight months pregnant.
She added that they are advised to seek the attention of “Azamba” in their villages if there is any problem and not the health center. The habit has discouraged people from seeking medical attention since they are neglected and thus they turn to the experience of local midwives.
Confirming the matter, Village Headman Inkosana Malidade Madise said he is aware of government intentions to shutdown the health facility in his area.
Explained the local chief,“We are indeed having problems to access medical attention here after withdraw of medical workers. We hear that this is part of a long term plan to completely close the hospital,” said Madise,”
Local residents are left with the question “Is this part of the government reforms we have heard so much about in from our leaders; could it be that the ministry of health is failing to carry out its duties or is this just an act of negligence from our government?”
Madise has a population of about six thousand people mostly farmers and a few small business people who make regular trips to South Africa as most Malawians do.
The local inhabitants cannot afford to man the clinic and are forced to travel a dreadful twenty kilometers to the nearest clinic for medical attention. Is this what Malawi has been reduced to? Is this the price the ordinary Malawian has to pay for the reckless behavior of those who were involved in the despicable “Cashgate Scandal”, or is this just an act of negligence from our government?
But Ministry of Health communications officer Adrian Chikumbe, asked for more time to comment on the development when approached on the matter.
Meanwhile, Minister of Health, Peter Kumpalume has maintained he was not aware of the development and could not comment on the tragedy at hand.