Resident of Karonga the northern border district of Malawi have petitioned the district public hospital for charging user fees for health services.
According to the petition signed by the Karonga Youths for Justice and Development (KYJD) which is one of the leading local NGO that deals with issues of human rights in the district, the development is blocking poor patients to access free services.
“We are much concerned with the increased report that the hospital which is a public one, is charging health services to patients,” reads part of the petition.
“We want to know if government has changed the system because if not then you are abusing your office apart from infringing the citizens’ right to get free medications,” added the petition.
In the petition, the community are also accusing the hospital workers for not attending the patients in time.
Speaking in a separate interview, KYJD executive director Steven Simsokwe said his organization has been receiving number of such complaints from the community hence the petition.
“Life of every person especially poor people depends on the public hospital when they are sick particularly because they are free. So charging health services denies them their rights and as KYJD we shall not allow that,” said Simsokwe.
He said if the situation continues, his organization together with the community will hold a massive protest.
Commenting on the development, acting District Health Officer (DHO) Luis Tukula while admitting to have received the petition said as the hospital, they have not received official complaint from any patients regarding the matter.
Tukula however said they will conduct an investigation on the matter and revealed their plan of meeting with the concerned group to settle down the issue.
However, Chairperson for Karonga Health Advisory Committee (HAC) Felix Mwankyanjala disclosed that such malpractice are being carried at the hospital.
He said his committee has been also receiving such complaints.
One of the admitted patients confided to Nyasa Times that the hospital has now turned into more than a private hospital.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :