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Ministry of Health following Chikwawa Hospital mattress scam

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The Ministry of Health has said it is aware of reports of theft of mattresses by some top officials at Chikwawa District Hospital.

Police in the district on Tuesday recovered 25 of 28 mattresses that are suspected to have been stolen.

Reports indicate that, while some top hospital officials were sharing mattresses Monday night, some of the patients the mattresses were meant for were sleeping on the floor.

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This prompted the hospital’s junior staff to report the matter to police, who invaded houses of some of the top officials at the hospital to recover the mattresses.

Chikwawa Police spokesperson, Foster Benjamin, confirmed the development but said police were investigating the matter.

Benjamin said, after the investigations, all the suspects would be taken to court where they will answer the charge of theft by public servant.

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“We recovered 25 mattresses from their [officials] homes, of which three are still missing. We brought some of them [officials] here [to police] for questioning but I cannot disclose their names since we are still investigating the matter,” Benjamin said.

Ministry of Health spokesperson, Joshua Malango, said, due to decentralisation, all district hospitals fall under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.

Malango, however, said the Ministry of Health is following the matter with interest and would not shield health officers implicated in the scam.

“We have received the reports but you might be aware that, due to decentralisation, district hospitals and health centres fall under the Ministry of Local Government. However, we are following the situation with keen interest and, as a ministry, we will not shield anyone implicated in the scam because this is very unpatriotic,” Malango said.

Theft of drug and hospital equipment continues to cripple service delivery in public health facilities despite numerous threats from the government that it would prosecute perpetrators of the vice.

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