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Civil Society Organisations blame government for Faith Mwangonde’s death

Some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have blamed the government for failing to save the life of six-year-old Faith Mwangonde who was diagnosed with an inborn condition of metabolism and needed to travel to India for treatment.

Faith died on Wednesday at Kamuzu Central Hospital after complaining of stomach pain last week.

Faith has been in agony for more than two years waiting to be referred to India after central hospitals failed to find a solution to her condition.

Recently, people of goodwill conducted a big walk in a bid to help Faith travel to India for treatment.

Many quarters have also been making donations for the cause and about K6 million was raised out of the K10 million that was required for the trip.

Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) Executive Director, George Jobe, has described Faith’s death as an indication of a health system that is shattered.

“It is sad that we have failed to save a life. This goes back to what we have said about making sure that we have a good allocation to the health budget considering that we still need a lot of international referrals and that is why there is need to increase money allocated to referral services. We would also want to appreciate those who contributed to save her life.

“Looking at how critical the case was, when people had started making contributions, we only missed K4 million to reach the amount, something should have happened, the government could have come in to supplement that,” he said.

During a mass conducted at Chilinde Parish in Lilongwe on Thursday, Brian Katimba, Chairperson of Friends of Faith, which has been fundraising for her trip to India, said he felt the country had failed her.

Commenting on the development, Eye of the Child Executive Director, Maxwell Matewere, said Malawi needs to adopt a mandatory policy that would prioritise children in need of foreign referral services.

“Malawi should really rethink about this and immediately adopt a policy that would make it mandatory for the Ministry of Health to provide health services to children. Children need our help and the government should be exemplary and guard jealously against the loss of lives of children who could otherwise have been saved,” he said.

Chairperson of the Malawi Human Rights Consultative Committee (MHRC), Robert Mkwezalamba, has called for a review of the process of external referrals.

“We demand that there should be a review of the process of referring people to foreign hospitals as a nation. We would want the committee which decides who has to be supported by government to be restructured if it exists at all. If it does not, a committee drawn from all sectors of society should be established to decide who should go,” he said.

Ministry of Health spokesperson, Adrian Chikumbe, was on record to have said every patient that goes to a foreign hospital sent by the ministry, is dealt with on first-come-first-served basis.

In an interview on Thursday, KCH Director Jonathan Ngoma said the hospital did not refuse to send Faith abroad for external referral, saying her case was never brought to the hospital’s referral committee until her demise.

Earlier, Faith’s mother, Rose Ndovi, told The Daily Times that officials from KCH where she has been seeking medical attention told her that external referral is only limited to those suffering from kidney and heart diseases.

Faith will be buried Saturday in Karonga.

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