K107m debt cripples NkhataBay hospital: Patients sleep without food

A K107 million debt to suppliers and workers has left Nkhata Bay district hospital in a mess, crippling its smooth running as stakeholders are now reluctant to provide their services, Nyasa Times has learnt.

For over a week now, the lakeshore district hospital has failed to provide food to patients.

“They are only offering water,” a guardian at the hospital said.

According to the guardian, patients without guardians are the ones who are getting the worst punch in the stomach.

Nkhata Bay hospital

Nkhata Bay hospital

“Those who have guardians have no problem since we are able to cook for them using our resources. But those [patients] who have no guardians are starving,” he said.

The guardian, who has a patient in the male ward, described the situation at the hospital as “horrendous and worrying.”

Nkhata Bay district hospital spokesperson Professor Mfune admitted that the hospital is failing to provide food to the patients but was quick to blame the setback on inadequate funding.

He said the hospital has been badly affected by the financial crisis such that most of their programmes are flopping.

Mfune could however not be drawn to say how much the hospital owes suppliers.

“The accounts department is better placed to comment on that,” Mfune told a local radio.

But well-placed sources at the hospital have told Nyasa Times that the debt has accumulated to over K107 million.

Of the K107 million, a big chunk accounts for the money the hospital owes suppliers of foodstuffs. K3.5 million is the amount the hospital has not paid its workers who work outside their working hours while K2.5 million belongs to a local garage.

The garage proprietor has since threatened to impound an ambulance at the hospital if it fails to pay soon.

On Monday, only one clinician served patients in the out-patient department as the rest of the hospital medical personnel were locked up in a meeting that discussed the way forward on the arrears the hospital owes them.

The health workers have since petitioned the District Commissioner’s (DC) office, threatening an unspecified action if nothing is done as regards their dues soon.

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