BY JORDAN SIMEON-PHIRI
Community leaders around health centres in Paramount Chief Kyungu in Karonga district have raised concerns over the continued shortage of drugs, shortage of medical personnel and staff houses in the four health centres in the district.
The concerns were raised at an interface meeting Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) facilitated on Friday at Baka Residential Training College (RTC) to find long lasting solutions to challenges the community members are facing when accessing health services in public hospitals.
In an interview, Lupembe health centre management committee (HCMC) chairperson Dickie Sichali said the meeting which was attended by Member of Parliament for Karonga North West Constituency, Ward Councillors for Chilanga, Rukulu and Mlare was fruitful, saying rights holders took duty bearers to task on pertinent issues.
He said: “Our challenges in the four health centres range from shortage of drugs, staff houses, medical personnel, poor road network and in some cases maternity wings at Mlare which stalled at foundation level in 2019 while at Kasoba it was closed down by Medical Council of Malawi (MCM) due to poor sanitation cracks that developed few years ago.
“So, our hope is that these duty bearers will work on these challenges as promised if universal health coverage for all is to be achieved”.
In an another interview, Karonga District Council Chairperson Councillor Bellium Msukwa acknowledged that the health system is facing myriad challenges that require concerted efforts to mitigate.
“The challenge to do with shortage of medical supplies and shortage of staff is a national one. That will be dealt with by Central Government while infrastructural development is at Council level with community members who are supposed to identify needs and contribute at least 25 percent construction materials.
“I am glad to see that Kasoba people have put together bricks and and a foundation for the maternity with. Let them be assured that the Council will come in the rest. At Mlare, the Legislator for the area and I have agreed to finish the construction works next year,” he said.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe said his ministry is aware of the shortage of some medicines and medical supplies and staff in public health facilities in Karonga and across the country.
He said: “The shortage of medical staff is being addressed as the Ministry of Health continues to engage Department of Human Resource Management to give authority to hire more personnel. We have since been recruiting various cadres of stuff who are being deployed to the districts as well as central hospitals