Members of staff for Chiradzulu District Hospital who reside in Blantyre City, have now entered a third week without reporting for duties due to a funding crisis that has hit hard almost all public health facilities for months.
As a result of lack of housing in the district, the District Health Office (DHO) allows its staff members to look for accommodation in various townships of Blantyre City. The members are picked by bus to and from their work station.
Public Relations Officer for Chiradzulu District Health Office, Owen Chatayika, confirmed the news, saying the Hospital cannot afford fuel for the staff bus.
“We are unable to run the whole fleet of ambulances, food rationing for patients, unable to pay locum for nurses and clinicians,” Chatayika said.
He added: “But we wish to assure the people of Chiradzulu that as an office we are doing everything possible to serve them.”
Health Parliamentary Committee Chairperson Juliana Lunguzi said the ministries of Health and Finance are failing to give convincing response on the matter.
She said when her committee squeezed the ministry, it was discovered that only DHOs that were in critical situation received funding.
“I am getting calls from DHOs across the country that patients are getting one meal a day; Mangochi has parked its ambulances, Lilongwe is providing one meal a day, everywhere people are struggling.” she said.
Health Rights Education Programme (HREP) Executive Director, Maziko Matemba, suggests that the district hospitals should be decentralised.
Matemba said if given that opportunity, services at district hospitals can improve.
In an interview on Tuesday, Health Spokesperson, Adrian Chikumbe placed the blame on the Ministry of Finance for delayed payments and reduction of ORT.
Recently the Finance Ministry spokesperson Nations Msowoya said government was disbursing resources to the DHOs according to what was allocated in the budget.
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