Health crisis at Likoma


By Mandy Pondani:

There is a health crisis for 18,000 Malawians based at Likoma and Chizumulu islands due to challenges faced at St Peters Community Hospital which serves as the district hospital.

The hospital lacks medical equipment such as resuscitation machine for babies born prematurely, X-ray and anesthetic machine.


District Health Officer, Davie Sibale, said the hospital gets a monthly subvention of K3.5 million from the government against monthly operation costs pegged at K8 million.

Sibale complained about dilapidated structures such as the laboratory which, he said, were built before the country gained independence and had become almost.

“Due to geographical isolation, there are very high operational costs. Ideally, we would do better with funding of K8 million.


“On our prioritie list, we need an ambulance boat, for instance, to facilitate easy referral of emergency patients between the islands and mainland,” Sibale said.

Sibale said when babies are born prematurely, the only option is Kangaroo mother care due to lack of resuscitation equipment, adding that the only X-ray machine is small and caters for minor problems.

“The theater is also too small. We do not have vacuum extractors to be used in labour wards,” Sibale said.

One of the islanders, Cosmas Malibisa, accused the government of violating their right to access quality healthcare services.

“The health challenges on the island are unthinkable,” he said.

Ministry of Health spokesperson, Joshua Malango, asked for more time to verify the issues.

Malawi Health Equity Network Executive Director, George Jobe, urged the government to consider investing in health at Likoma because people have limited alternatives.

“People at Likoma are fellow Malawians and, by all means, they should be part and parcel of efforts aimed at achieving universal health coverage. The global movement on maternal and neonatal health should also be translated on the island,” Jobe said.

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