Salima district health office (DHO) public relations officer Angela Nyongani has commended efforts by the Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) and other stakeholders for agreeing with government to start supporting people living in Chitala, Khombedza and Kaphamtengo with some free health services.
She said this on Thursday during an interview with Malawi News Agency (MANA) on the measures the DHO is putting in place to ensure that hard to reach areas also have access to health services.
The CHAM health facilities will be catering for a population of about 8, 147 people that previously walked 20 to 50 kilometers to access free health services at Salima DHO.
Nyongani expressed her hope that maternal deaths in the district will be reduced because pregnant women will start going to the hospital at an early stage, a practice which was not there before.
“Before the agreement, most people were having difficulties to access maternal health and child health services because it was not for free and those that were accessible were far away from the communities.”
“People would travel a long distance just to access these services but currently the services will be accessible at their door step” said Nyongani.
The health services will however bring high patronage at the hospital such that people will be accessing the services starting from antenatal clinics to delivery and it will shorten the distance which most of them were failing to reach.
On her part, Salima North West parliamentarian, Jessie Kabwila said the situation at her constituency was bad and she thanked the DHO and the district commissioner for coming up with the agreement which she said will help curb the problems which were there before.
“A good number of women have gone back to Azamba (traditional birth attendants) because they couldn’t afford to get into the hospital, when I went there the clinic was as quiet as a cemetery because people could not afford the services.”
“To be honest, it is very unfortunate because when you have a facility and people could not afford it then it becomes very dangerous, in fact, there was a time when a woman had to give birth in front of the clinic because they couldn’t admit her,” said Kabwila.
She told MANA that government had already agreed on upgrading Khombedza health center because it is overcrowded and people cannot get full help at the center.
Kabwila commended CHAM for doing a very good job, and assured people in the district that they will get an ambulance as soon as possible.