Guardians at Mzimba District Hospital are at high risk of water borne diseases such as cholera, due to the bad state of the facility which lets in water when it rains.
The guardian shelter, which is housing over 100 guardians, has latrines which are now full, poorly taken-care-of rubbish pit and no kitchen, making life harder for the users when it rains.
“We are forced to wake up from sleep and remain standing when it rains during the night because there is a lot of water entering through spaces,” lamented the shelter’s chairperson, Catherine Tembo from Edingeni, a distance of 55 kilometers west of Mzimba Boma.
“We don’t even have space to keep our fire wood, so the woods are always exposed to the rains. Life is really hard for us,” she added.
During a full council meeting organized by MamaYe on health budget transparency and accountability on Thursday, Councilor for Pelekezi Ward, Andrew Tembo, called for all the 11 Members of Parliament in the district to contribute K3 million each from Constituency Development Fund (CDF) for the construction of a new guardian shelter.
In response to the suggestion, Member of Parliament for Mzimba Solola, Jacobs Hara, told Malawi News Agency (MANA) in an interview that the idea was viable considering that the hospital serves the whole district.
“If my colleagues would be comfortable with it, I think that is fair enough because it is hard to source such funds from one constituency because this hospital is for us all in Mzimba,” said Hara in whose constituency is Mzimba Central Business District where the hospital is situated.
Parliamentarian for Mzimba South West, Khumbo Kachali, welcomed the idea, saying the issue needs to be taken care of immediately.
“I didnt know that’s the situation, but all I can say is we need a guardian shelter at the hospital. I know the importance of a guardian shelter, especially during the rainy season like this. We have to find a way whether CDF, LDF or personal contributions, we have to find a way and immediately,” he said.
On his part, MP for Mzimba South East, Harry Mkandawire, said he would need to consult his constituents considering the fact that Mzimba District Hospital is in Mzimba Solola Constituency.
“If I have to take K3 million from my constituency to Solola, I have to consult my chiefs and the ADC, it’s not a decision that I can make on my own. I have to consult the owners of the money.
“If it was my personal money, I would have given you an answer right now,” he said.
Malawi Government signed the Abuja Declaration in April, 2001, committing itself to spend at least 15 per cent of its budget on health. However, according to MamaYe, an organization which advocates for transparency and accountability in the use of resources, the 2016/2017 budget allocated only 10 per cent to the health sector.
Mzimba District Hospital, which has a bed capacity of about 274, was allocated about K254 million in the 2016/2017 budget.
Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA