Ntaba stops Kamuzu Central Hospital guards from searching his car

There was drama at the main gate of Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) of Friday when Doctor Heatherwick Ntaba, one of senior doctors at the referral facility, stopped guards from searching his car as a routine exercise.

One of the guards who was on duty on the Good Friday told Malawi News Agency (Mana) that Ntaba refused to have his car searched as he was leaving the hospital premises adding that he challenged the guards to call whoever had given them the order to come and search the doctor.

“We were given orders by the hospital authority that we should be searching every car leaving the hospital premises regardless of who is driving the car or who owns it,” explained one of the guards who did not want his name published.

“But yesterday (Friday) when we stopped Dr. Ntaba as he was knocking off he fumed at us and stopped us from searching his car saying we did not have any right to do so,” continued the guard.

Ntaba: Refused search

Ntaba: Refused search

He said the guards on duty stood to their ground but Ntaba “threatened” them with unspecified consequences should they continue to search his car and eventually, the guard said, they were forced to let him go with his car unsearched.

Ntaba confirmed the incident in a telephone interview saying he had refused to have his car searched because he had received no communication from the hospital’s authorities that doctors would be having their cars searched at the gate.

Said Ntaba, “They stopped me and demanded to have my car searched and I was very surprised because I had not received any formal communication that senior doctors would be having their cars searched.

“So I could not allow them to search my car without any formal communication and I even talked to the hospital director, Dr. Alide, and he expressed ignorance over the search order.”

KCH Director, Noor Alide, could not be reached on his mobile. His deputy, Dr. Davis Mtontha, however, said he was not aware of the Friday incident but he was quick to say it was a rule at the hospital that everybody leaving the premises should be searched.

“I’ve not heard anything about the Friday incident but everyone at the hospital, including us directors, is searched at the gate; that is the trend at present,” said Dr. Mtontha.

Recently, the media quoted KCH director, Dr. Alide, to have said that his administration was tightening security at the hospital because he believed that “most of the challenges facing the facility such as drug shortage were man-made”.

Alide said the hospital was in the process of having all its systems automated so that personnel’s duty attendance, drug prescriptions and drug usage. Among other things, should be monitored electronically to minimize drug pilferage and staff absenteeism.

Meanwhile, the guards at KCH main gate plan to refer the matter to the hospital authority on Tuesday to seek the way forward on the matter and as to whether particular individuals should be exempted from searching.

Meanwhile, the guards at KCH main gate plan to refer the matter to the hospital authority on Tuesday to seek the way forward on the matter and as to whether particular individuals should be exempted from searching.

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