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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Government is neglecting health sector

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Reports that two women have died in an operating theatre at Mangochi District Hospital due to power failure are a national shame coming at a time when the country has been politically independent for over half a century now.

But we dare say that government’s negligence is squarely to blame for such deaths and others that go unreported in many areas of the country.

Just last year, we carried shocking stories of how guardians were told to bring their own generators if their patients were to be operated on at the hospital. Related to such stories were saddening reports from Machinga District Hospital where medical professionals stood helplessly as patients succumbed to preventable deaths.

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And a few months ago, opposition Members of Parliament told Minister of Health, Atupele Muluzi, to prioritise health facilities in the wake of intermittent power supply.

This is why fingers are pointing at the government in the wake of these deaths because danger signs were all over the dashboard but the government ignored them.

Just imagine, because of the breakdown in the public health sector, a technician at the hospital decided to do piece-work away from the hospital during working hours. And the Minister’s explanation in Parliament yesterday indicated that the whole hospital had one person who knew how to switch on an emergency generator.

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The fact that the generator has to be operated manually shows how cold-hearted the government is on matters of life and death of poor Malawians. The problem is that members of the ruling class never seek treatment from our public health facilities but they blow away taxes of the poor to access world-class treatment in South Africa and India.

We demand a serious and independent investigation into the sheer recklessness that reared its ugly head at Mangochi District Hospital. Any officers found to be in the wrong must be disciplined accordingly and not merely be transferred. The bereaved families also deserve to be compensated for the shock and trauma that they have been subjected to.

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