BY JORDAN SIMEON-PHIRI
Ukhondo Service Foundation (USEF) executive director Edgar Phiri has challenged community members around the seven health centres in Senior Chief Wasambo in Karonga district to construct houses for health workers in order to enhance health service delivery which he said is hampered with long distances medical personnel walk from rented premises.
Phiri made the challenge on Wednesday at Wasambo Area Development Committee (ADC) chamber during the project exit meeting after working for one year in the area.
He said: “During our one year stay in this area, we have trained Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs), we have facilitated establishment and trainings of health centre management committee (HCMC) members and offices of hospital Ombudsmen to check drug pilferage in all the seven health centres.
“Now, the fact that we are exiting, our appeal is that they should continue with the watchdog role to make sure that there is no drug pilferage. And again, they should sustain the project by utilizing the knowledge imparted to them during our stay. Above all, they should construct houses for HSAs and other medical staff houses to make sure that they stay close to hospitals to enhance health service delivery”.
On his part, Wasambo ADC chairperson Happy Ndovi while hailing Tilitonse Foundation and the Royal Norwegian Embassy for the project, promised to facilitate and expedite construction of the houses to ease housing challenges that medical staff in the health facilities.
“The project has really helped the community to learn skills on how to provide checks and balances in order to check drug theft in our public hospitals. However, as an ADC, I will make sure that the project is sustained so that USEF should come again should they get funding,” he said.
In an interview, Karonga District Health Office (DHO) administrator Clement Gonthi said the project has achieved a lot in the area, saying establishment of grievance redress mechanism committees and trainings of HSAs and HCMC members cannot be overemphasized in the health system.
He said: “The impact of the project is huge. On our own with limited resources it wouldnt be possible for us to implement all this in one year.
“Establishment of HCMC and offices of Ombudsman and trainings are costly. Above all, printing of t-shirts for these committee members for easy identification is expensive”.
With funding from the European Union (EU) through Tilitonse Foundation and Royal Norwegian Embassy, USEF was implementing a one year Strengthening Transparency, Accountability and Oversight project in seven health centres in Senior Chief Wasambo in the district.