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Ambulance delay kills woman after delivery

Poor service delivery in the public health sector continues to claim innocent lives and, in the latest case, a woman is said to have died in Machinga District because a health centre failed to provide an ambulance on time.
This was disclosed by Paramount Chief Kawinga, who reported the incident to Health Minister Atupele Muluzi recently. The development comes at a time the ministry is embroiled in allowance scandals.
Kawinga, therefore, asked Muluzi to increase the number of ambulances in Machinga District.
Kawinga made the remarks during the launch of an awareness campaign for cervical cancer which took place at Michongwe Primary School Ground in the district.
“Honourable Minister, our district does not have enough ambulances at the moment. Last week, a woman who had delivered and was referred to Liwonde Hospital died because she was being taken to the hospital on a minibus. We need to improve our service delivery to avoid cases like these,” Kawinga said.
Machinga District Health Officer, Arnold Kapachika, confirmed the death of the woman due to what he said was loss of blood.
He, however, dismissed Kawinga’s assertions that the patient was brought to the hospital using a commuter minibus.
“I can confirm that we lost the woman but it is because the ambulance delayed to go and pick her because, by the time we were receiving the message [to go and get the patient], the ambulance was already on another referral [assignment],” Kapachika said.
Kapachika said Machinga has three working ambulances and it is difficult to assist people in all the health centres, considering that some facilities are located over 100 kilometres from the district hospital, which is situated at Liwonde.
But Muluzi and his Principal Secretary, who attended the meeting, did not directly comment on the ambulance challenge.
He, instead, said he was scheduled to hold a meeting with community leaders in Machinga to see how best they could upgrade Ntaja Health Centre to assist people of the area.

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