People around Mlare Health Centre in Karonga District have bemoaned that lack of a maternity wing at the facility for 40 years has crippled antenatal services in the area.
The people expressed concern Friday during an interface meeting with duty bearers on health governance issues organized by Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) at Lupembe.
Chairperson for Lupembe Area Development Committee (ADC) Vincent Kayuni said Mlare Health Centre serves a population of 25000 people and due to lack of a maternity wing, pregnant mothers deliver in homes.
Kayuni said pregnant mothers come from far and they find it hard to access antenatal services and the situation turns worse during pregnancy complications.
“We have had this problem for over 40 years. Women find it hard to access antenatal services and even an immediate help during pregnancy complications.
“We feel the council and the health officials have given a blind eye to our problem because we have cried over the issue of maternity wing for over a decade now,” Kayuni said.
Health Advisory Committee chairperson at the facility Vyanangika Mkwala bemoaned that nothing is happening despite communities having already moulded bricks and gathered sand for the construction of the maternity wing.
Mkwala said apart from the issue of Maternity Wing, the hospital has no running water which also compromises service delivery at the facility.
However, Assistant Health Service Administrator at Karonga District Hospital Grey Munthali said the issue of maternity wing belongs to the council as the hospital alone cannot manage to build the structure due to inadequate funding.
“Our funding is not enough to cater for everything. As a hospital, we only get K1.5 million as Other Recurrent Transactions (ORT) fund and K19 million which is prioritized to buy medicine for over 500 health centres,” Munthali said.
CHRR Projects Officer Modester Ramunde said the Health Rights Project is aimed at bridging the gap between citizens and duty bearers through interface meetings to discuss pressing issues concerning health service delivery.
Apart from Karonga, the project is also being implemented in Dowa District.