Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president and leader of opposiiton Lazarus Chakwera has asked government to immediately stop holding patients in public hospitals as prisoners with the introduction of ‘one meal per day’ to the sick Malawians.
Speaking in Mangochi on Thursday during a campaign for local government polls, Chakwera said government should resume normal rations to patients, wondering why the government is failing to do so when parliament approved enough budget for the ministry of health.
“Patients are not prisoners. Patients need enough food in their bodies to deal with their ailments,” said Chakwera.
“ I have never seen a government that never respects the welfare of patients like this one[of Peter Mutharika],” said Chakwera.
Chakwera said the government has capacity to feed all patients , saying the administration needs to deal with rampant corruption in government which he said is. eating away public resources leaving vulnerable people helpless..
Ministry of Health spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe attributed the reduction of meals for patients in some hospitals to funding woes, saying Treasury is failing to support the health budget
“It is worth observing that when we submit our budgets to Treasury, it is based on need, but these budgets get trimmed based on projections of earnings. However, what is given in a month. This puts strain on centres to prioritise on spending,” said Chikumbe.
Malawi Equity Health Network (Mhen) executive director Martha Kwataine also lamented about the development, saying is a signal of “a very big crisis”
She said: “You cannot take medication on an empty stomach. It’s the same hospitals which tell people to eat first before taking drugs
“As a referral hospital, Bwaila admit very poor people from outside the city, and the sick people cannot work on their own to get food. At stake is not just the right for health, but also the right to life, these people can die,” said Kwataine.