The dream of Dwambazi Rural Hospital in Nkhotakota to have a mortuary at the facility is shuttered due to a mare K20 000.
The facility, which was opened in 1972 has a room which was designed as a mortuary but has never had a cold room.
A visit by this reporter to the hospital on Monday revealed that lack of mortuary facilities like a cold room at the hospital forces community members to immediately take their corpses home and sometimes burying them same day.
Cecelia Mwale of Kamphambale Village in the area said the people are at a risk of getting infectious diseases because some dead bodies are either decomposed or infectious.
“A mortuary helps relations to have time to prepare for burial. Usually, people also receive embalming services at the mortuary which help the dead body to stay for a while in readiness for burial,” she said.
A source at the hospital who opted for anonymity said in case of dead bodies that have not been identified, police and community leaders are involved for immediate burial.
According to councilor Joseph Zimkungi of Kasitu ward the efforts to get the mortuary refurbished was suspended due to lack of K20, 000 which they were supposed to use to transport the fridge from Nkhotakota District Hospital (DHO) to Dwambazi.
“This project was set aside to be funded by Constituency Development Fund (CDF). The Member of Parliament (MP) released CDF amounting to K572, 000 to an engineer identified for the project, a Mr. Kingstone who then requested the MP to give him MK20, 000 to transport the machinery from the Boma to Dwambazi.
“Upon seeing that it was taking time for the MP to release the funds, I offered my personal money but the legislator stopped the engineer from getting my money saying he wanted to strictly use CDF,” he narrated.
MP for Nkhotakota North, Frank Mphande said he is aware of the problems people in his constituency face due to lack of the facility hence initiating the project.
He, however, said that he tasked councilor Zimkungi to handle all the matters relating to the installation of the cold room at the hospital but the councilor has given him no feedback.
“I facilitated the release of CDF for the project. Spares were procured and the cold room for the old mortuary at the district hospital was repaired. However, the cold room was not transferred to Dwambazi because the councilor failed to release MK10, 000 which I requested him to pay and I promised a refund.
“Initially, I organised to involve other partners like Illovo Dwangwa Sugar Company to help us in transporting the machine from Nkhotakota health office to Dwambazi Rural Hospital,” said Mphande.
The legislator was quick to mention that he was following up the matter with the councilor to find out why there has been such a delay.
Nkhotakota District Health Officer (DHO), Sosten Lankhulani confirmed the project was suspended after the district hospital offered a cold room for the old hospital to the facility.
“I am aware that the project was being supported by the MP (Mphande) because he was the one who showed interest to assist. The cold room the health office surrendered to the rural hospital is still idle at the main hospital,” he said.
But he emphasized he did not know the source and amount of money which was being used.
Dwambazi rural hospital is found 101 kilometres away from its referral, Nkhotakota district hospital which is at the Boma. Kasitu ward which solely depends on the hospital has a population of 27 000 people.
According to Mphande if the cold room is installed, the mortuary would have maximum capacity storage of three corpses.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :