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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Government needs to prioritise health care

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We have always blamed the reversal of health care gains witnessed in Malawi and other sub-Saharan countries over the years on the HIV and Aids pandemic. But the truth is that the genesis of the collapse of healthcare in Malawi predates the emergence of the HIV and Aids.

Of course some have argued that the economic crisis that Malawi has been experiencing over the years has affected its responses which has undermined the social sector spending and inadvertently affected the health sector.

But one very important optic in our setup, has always been ignored. Corruption is the microcosm of the many challenges that our health sector faces. And the story in our paper today is just a reflection of that – a collapsed system.

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Remember that for government to raise K4 billion to pay lawmakers, they had to slash budgets for all district hospitals just for political expediency. Yet fixing a hospital elevator is not an emergency and meanwhile poor women at Kamuzu Central Hospital are having to pay K2,000 to get help to lift their sick husbands, children even corpses of their loved ones. It’s sad that at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, the women are the victims too.

The hospital has become a ‘death trap’ for women and babies, as there is a lot of delay to attend to emergency situations such as Caesarean Sections because there are too many on the waiting list to go into theatre.

The theatre is ever busy, so much that there is no much time to sterilise equipment and this is putting women and the new born babies at risk of infections.

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This is depressing especially in a country where one out of every 37 children dies in the first month of life and 80 percent of these deaths are due to prematurity, complications during birth or infections such as pneumonia and sepsis. This is what many among us face when they go to a public hospital.

This issue should be attended to with urgency and not ignored as usual because it concerns lives of people.

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