Ntcheu District Hospital has suspended major operations and is referring all cases to Dedza and Balaka district hospitals due to erratic water supply in the district.
Meanwhile, Ntcheu residents in central Malawi have given a 10-day ultimatum the Central Region Water Board (CRWB) to address erratic water supply that hit the district for the past year.
The hospital’s Administrator MacArthur Makata told local press that water supply has been erratic at the facility and the situation worsened some five months ago.
The residents, said to be using unsafe sources water, have since petitioned CRWB demanding an explanation and immediate action within 10 working days.
Makata supports the contents of the petition, saying the hospital has received a “significant increase in diarrhoea cases in under-five children”.
In a petition also copied to the Officer-In-Charge of Ntcheu Police, Ntcheu Magistrate Court and Project Manager for Groundwater Department, the concerned residents claim that the situation has triggered a rise in water borne diseases among under-five children and to the general public.
“Residents are now accessing water from Mpamadzi River which is highly contaminated with effluent from leaking septic tanks from prison.
“This poses a high risk of a disease outbreak. With these issues emanating from inconsistent supply of safe water, we are demanding an explanation and immediate action within 10 working days,” reads the petition in part.
While Makata said they asked CRWB to ration water supply, but so far this has not worked as emergencies cannot be planned.
“We are running a hospital and with this situation, it means our toilets are in bad state, the laundry is bad and we are even sending some of it to be washed in Dedza and Balaka. Its an awkward situation,” said Makata.
Ntcheu District Commissioner Charles Makanga also asserted that water scarcity has reached bad levels.
“Even in my house, I have not had running water since May. The water I drink comes from a borehole. It is not pleasing at all,” said Makanga.
CRWB spokesperson Zephelimo Mitumba has attributed water scarcity to irrigation farming taking place in the district , claiming farmers block some pipes, hence reduction in water flow.
“But will sort the situation in two weeks time,” said Mitumba.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :