A population of 12 000 people in Mahowe in Traditional Authority (T/A) Nthalire in Chitipa can now afford a smile following the establishment of a state-of-the- art health centre in the area.
The health centre has been opened in the house of former Speaker of Parliament, Rodwell Munyenyembe, to bail out people in the area from walking a long distance to the nearest health centre.
Located in a hilly set-up, communities from Mahowe were struggling to access health care services by traveling a distance of 35 kilometres to the nearest Nthalire Health Centre.
Speaking during the official opening of Mahowe Health Centre on Monday, Minister of Health Atupele Muluzi said the establishment of the health facility will help to reduce maternal deaths which were on the increase in the area.
“Mahowe area was registering the highest number of maternal deaths of all the areas in Chitipa District due to long distance to the nearest health facility.
“You can feel what communities here used to experience by traveling close to 40 kilometres to Nthalire Health Centre in order to access medical treatment, hence the establishment of this health centre by government,” Muluzi said.
Out of 10 maternal deaths that are registered in Chitipa, six come from Mahowe.
The health centre has been established following rehabilitation of the house of the former Speaker of Parliament by the incumbent Member of Parliament for Chitipa Wenya, Welani Chilenga, using the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
However, Muluzi said there is a long term plan by government to upgrade Nthalire Health Centre to a rural hospital to serve Malawians in Nthalire.
“As a ministry, we are very thankful to the family of the late Rodwell Munyenyembe for offering the former speaker’s house.
“However, while it is extremely important for us to do more with what we have, we have a long term plan to construct a permanent structure, but also to upgrade Nthalire Health Centre to a rural hospital,” Muluzi said.
The minister also assured people in the district that government would ensure provision of an ambulance to reduce mobility challenges Chitipa District Health office currently faces.
According to the District Health Officer (DHO) for Chitipa Dr. Ted Bandawe, Chitipa District has only one operational ambulance.
Mahowe Health Centre, which has close to 10 rooms, comprises of a labour ward, pharmacy, antenatal and sluice rooms.
In his remarks, Transport and Public Works Minister Jappie Mhango assured communities of a tarmac road from Chitipa to Rumphi via Nthalire. He also pledged to rehabilitate the eight-kilometer Mahowe to Karonga Road.
“As government, we are on the right track to improve the lives of people through infrastructure development, as such, we have already started planning for the construction of Chitipa to Rumphi via Nthalire road,” said Mhango.
Mahowe is close to 130 Kilometers from Chitipa District Hospital.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :