Reports of health workers ill-treating patients upset Office of Ombudsman

Mchinji: The Office of the Ombudsman says it is concerned with reports of various forms of abuses which patients are suffering at the hands of some health workers in hospitals.

Deputy Director of Investigations in the Office of Ombudsman, Martha Kwengwele made the remarks during a public discussion in Mchinji recently, aimed at responding to concerns that some health workers at Mchinji District Hospital are ill-treating patients.

Kwengwele said it is high time Malawians started using the hospital ombudsman office existing in their respective districts if they feel that they are being ill-treated by some health workers.

It is sad to learn that a lot of Malawians continue to suffer in silence after being ill-treated by some health personnel instead of reporting the same to the relevant authorities for help in bringing justice, she said.

Kwengwele said the office of ombudsman recently trained 50 ombudsmen who were deployed in some of the government hospitals across the country to work as agents where citizens can go and lodge their complaints.

Some of the participants during the public discussion complained that a lot of health personnel in most of the public hospitals in the country are reluctant to work knowing that nobody can take them to task.

One of the participants, a woman (name withheld) who gave her testimony during the discussion said that a male medical personnel at Mchinji district hospital undressed her and started touching her private parts in an attempt to rape her when in actual fact the woman had suffered leg pain.

Another male participant (name withheld) also revealed before the forum that one of the supporting staff at Mchinji district hospital sold him water claiming it to be a drug for curing Tuberculosis, a disease he suffered for a long time.

Mchinji District Hospital Ombudsman, Victor Chithabwa said both the health personnel and the supporting staff were arrested and that they are currently on police bail.

Once the investigations are over the suspects will be dragged to court to answer appropriate charges, Chithabwa said.

Chithabwa added that since the introduction of his office in July this year at the district hospital, he has registered at least 13 cases.

The Office of Ombudsman is currently implementing a program called Justice and Accountability in Mchinji with financial support from the European Union (EU).

Kwengwele said the objective of the program is to make sure that Malawians are demanding explanations on some of the decisions made by officials in government institutions in a move to get essential services.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA