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Deceased’s relatives shun mortuary in Mangochi

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Mangochi District Hospital officials have complained of a tendency by some guardians who refuse to take to the mortuary bodies of their deceased relatives and instead, preferring to wait in the ward before taking the body to their respective homes.

In some instances, some guardians have kept dead bodies of their relatives in a hospital ward for over three hours as they wait for transport, claiming that there is something fishy which happens at the hospital’s mortuary.

Mangochi District Hospital Matron, Felistus Mpachika, expressed this concern during a meeting which Development Communication Trust (DCT) and Oxfam officials held with hospital officials under a health governance project that aims at building capacity for citizens, to demand quality health services through transparent and accountable health workers in public hospitals.

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Mpachika explained that most of the times, the hospital has been in conflict with some guardians whenever their relation dies such that most of them prefer to keep the dead bodies inside the wards and not at the mortuary.

“We are not sure as why they do that, but it’s a big concern to us because infection prevention in that condition is difficult. It can also psychologically affect other patients inside the ward. We are appealing to you [DCT] to help in sensitising the communities that it is not healthy to keep dead bodies inside wards,” Mpachika said.

District Medical Officer, Stalin Zinkanda, agreed with Mpachika for the need to extend awareness campaigns to other areas of the district saying the situation at the moment is putting a lot of pressure on medical personnel at the district hospital.

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“Through your project people are now aware of their rights, but there is need to do more in order for them to understand their duties as well. They need to be told a limit of which they can demand things from hospital officials because most of them do not know their limits,” Zinkanda said.

The project’s coordinator, Bettie Chumbu, indicated that the project, which is partly being financed by Oxfam, will be scaled up in order to create awareness so that people will be able to demand their health rights in a responsible manner.

“We heard the concerns and our aim is to ensure that about 60 percent of people in the impact areas are accessing quality health services because we believe that health rights are important for the country’s social and economic development,” Chumbu said.

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