The National Assembly in Lilongwe has passed the motion to extend the allocations of the Malawi Rural Electrification Program (MAREP) to all health facilities in the country.
Moving the motion in parliament, Member of Parliament for Dedza East, Juliana Lunguzi said the electrification of health facilities in the country will improve service delivery as well as help to retain staff in most health facilities especially in rural areas.
“Considering the fact that newly recruited staff refuse to work in rural areas, and staff retention is a challenge, due to lack of electricity, I feel electrifying such facilities would be good because no one will refuse to work there and our health personnel will be able to use medical equipment which requires electricity thereby improving service delivery,” she said.
Lunguzi who is also Chairperson of parliamentary committee on Health said lack of electricity in some health facilities has resulted into difficulties in pumping water for the hospitals and its staff.
“Water is crucial in hospitals and if the hospitals do not have that constant supply of water, it means we are in disaster,” she noted.
Currently, MAREP targets trading centres in each district of the country with an aim of increasing access to electricity to rural and peri- urban communities to transform rural economies and reduce poverty.
With the passing of the motion, health facilities in the country will also be included in the programme which is currently on phase 8 since its inception in the 80’s.
According to Lunguzi, only 65 percent of health facilities in the country have electricity, a development which she said makes Malawi to fall short in reaching the international standards.
She said inclusion of health centres in the programme was very important in ensuring continuous power and water supply, not only to the personnel working there, but the nation as well.
“We know that the programme targets trading centres but we are asking government to consider it extending to health facilities since we need health personnel to patronize the trading centres,” Lunguzi said.
Seconding the motion, Kasungu Central parliamentarian, Amon Nkhata said having electricity in health facilities would enable medical doctors to use modern equipment which can as well make them be in touch with other doctors.
“It is worrisome to note that a health centre has to send samples to a district hospital for a simple test just because there is no electricity at that particular facility. Some of these tests can be done right at the health facility if they have electricity,” he said.
Ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) parliamentarian for Blantyre Bangwe, Davis Kadzinja highlighted the importance and the needs of ensuring that health centres have electricity.
According to Kadzinja who is also from medical background , said having all health facilities electrified, it will motivate health workers to go and work in rural areas as they will be no difference with those in town
Also commenting on the motion, Lilongwe Msozi south parliamentarian, Vitus Dzoole Mwale concurred with other contributors to the motion saying electrifying such facilities would be a motivation to staff.
“If the program is implemented, we will no longer have staff running away to work in cities because what they look for in those city hospitals is electricity,” he said.
Dowa West parliamentarian Kusamba Dzonzi said the program would help his constituents to receive quality treatment in rural hospitals and health centres such as Chisepo, Dzoole and Mbingwa.
It was expected that about 81 trading centres will be electrified under Marep 8 which is expected to start soon according to Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Bright Msaka.
However Msaka informed the house that the number of trading centres to benefit under Marep 8 has increased, and his Ministry will release a list soon.
Due to resource constraints, MAREP is executed in phases.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :