Christian Aid and UK Aid through their implementing partners, Foundation for Community Support Services (Focus) and Adventist Health Services (AHS) have donated medical equipment worth K16 million to Karonga District Hospital.
For over two years, the hospital has been running without ultra-sound scanning and X-ray machines with government pledging to procure them but in vain.
At the weekend, the hospital received one ultra-sound scanning machine, four oxygen concentrators, four hemacue machines, patient trolleys, wheelchairs, baby beds and digital blood pressure machines.
Christian Aid representative at the function, Michael Muhagama, said the donation is part of their commitment towards the fight against maternal deaths in the country.
“Together with our partners, Focus and AHS, we noted that pregnant women were deprived of their right to have scanning services during complications and this forced them to be accessing the services at a cost from private hospitals around the district. This has been a setback as we strive to end maternal deaths in the district,” he said.
Muhagama added that they have spared K18 million to rehabilitate three health centres in Karonga, namely: Ngana, Mpata and Lupembe.
“These health centres are very far from the district hospital as pregnant mothers have to travel a distance of about 60 kilometres to access quality health services. They also do not have proper waiting rooms,” he said.
Karonga District Health Officer, Khumbo Shumba, hailed Christian Aid for the equipment but said the hospital still faces problems with transportation as it only has three ambulances serving a population of 350,000 people which is against World Health Organisation that an ambulance should serve 50 people.
“A significant number of women tend not to deliver at a health facility with assistance by medical personnel. One other challenge is the unavailability of some essential equipment to help detect the danger signs in our health facilities in time. Unavailability of an ultrasound scan machine in the District has led to missed diagnoses of some conditions in both gynecological and obstetric cases contributing to poor standards of health care being rendered at maternal health,” Shumba explained.
Paramount Chief Kyungu warned health workers at the hospital against damaging the equipment.
“I am reliably told that some health workers connive with private clinic owners to be damaging the equipment so that patients are referred to their clinics to access the services. That should come to an end. If I hear about such incidences again, I will deal with you,” he warned.
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