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Limbe Health Centre faces congestion woes

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Newly-born babies at Limbe Health Centre, a government primary health facility in Blantyre, are at risk of contracting infectious diseases triggered by congestion in the postnatal ward.

Nursing Officer at the facility, Tiwonge Mwangonde, said the ward was built to accommodate 12 postnatal mothers but instead it is accommodating over 35 mothers in a day.

She said with the safe motherhood initiative, antenatal mothers are supposed to await delivery at the hospital, a development also prompting the congestion.

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“In a day, we receive about 20 antenatal cases who are accommodated together with the women who have just delivered. This poses a threat to the baby and the mother as well. The babies’ immunity is not strong and is exposed to an environment with little ventilation due to the overcrowding,” she said.

When The Daily Times visited the health centre, some women awaiting delivery were sharing a bed.

One of the women who faced the raw situation at the facility is Fanny Peterson, a mother of one, who on September 11 experienced what it means to be at a congested facility.

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“I came to the hospital at around 6 o’clock in the evening of that day, but I was shocked to see how the ward was filled up. I was offered a place on the floor, where I just used a piece of cloth to sleep on,” Peterson said.

Apart from the congestion, the ward has only one toilet which becomes a challenge at night.

“The ward can be parked with over 50 people. This is so because besides the antenatal and postnatal mothers, nowadays guardians of the patients are now allowed in the ward,” Mwangonde said.

Mwangonde said it would be ideal if another ward was built specifically for the antenatal mothers.

“For the guardians, since they are now allowed inside the wards, the congestion would have been eased with a construction of guardian shelter. One other pertinent issue is about a kitchen, though patients are admitted here [ for antenatal and postnatal] there is no kitchen,” she said.

In a day, the hospital registers about 12 deliveries despite having a labour ward of four beds.

Blantyre District Health Officer, Medson Matchaya, said government is aware of the situation but the only challenge has been lack of resources.

“You might wish to know that Limbe is one of the busiest health centres we have, however, the assertions raised are true,” he said.

He, however, said there are plans to construct extensions of some facilities in health centres such as Limbe.

Matchaya, whose office looks after 23 health centres in Blantyre, said about K465 million is used in a year for the operations of all hospitals under his watch.

Limbe Health Centre has a catchment area of Chigumula, Soche, Nkolokosa Kanjedza, Kachere, some parts of Machinjiri and Bangwe.

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