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JB calls on Mutharika, Chilima and Chakwera to unite over Malawi health crisis

Immediate past president Joyce Banda has called upon President Peter Mutharika, Vice-president Saulos Chilima and opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera to bury their political hatchets and come together to deal with public health crisis.

Banda:  Disaster in public hospitals

Banda, who leads the People’s Party (PP). Said her heart bleeds with reports of poor drug supply to public hospitals and that patients as well as health workers as at risk with intermittent power and water supply.

“It is unacceptable and critical operations are being postponed in our hospitals. It is unacceptable that women should fail to bath after giving birth,” said Banda who championed safe motherhood when she was Head of State between 2012 and 2014.

Banda said Chilima who is now leader of United Transformation Movement (UTM) and Chakwera the president of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) should “rise above politics” to  work together with Mutharika’s administration to help mitigate against the health problem.

She shared a s story about a family losing children at a government hospital due to lack of facilities and to make matters worse the hospital has been unable to transport the bodies from Mzuzu hospital to the families’ home village in Chitipa.

The former president said immediately she heard of this problem at hospital that the remains of the deceased kids have been at hospital for more than a week due to hospital not having transport she disclosed that she phoned State House to find out if President Mutharika is aware of “disaster” in public health and if there is something he can do, also communicated to Chakwera and informed Chilima of the same.

Banda said she is “greatly aggrieved” and concerned about the situation in public hospitals and the lack of power, water in hospitals which combined with lack of transport is leading to premature deaths of many mothers and children.

She gave an example of Mwanza hospital which has stopped admissions due to lack of facilities.

Banda stressed on the need for leaders to talk to each other to address national crisis.

Chakwera told Times Radio that  MCP told government that there was need to increase Other Recurrent Transactions (ORT) allocation to public hospitals but the Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe said ‘no’.

“We are ready to help but what can we do when the public budget is with the Executive?” he said.

A commentator on social media, Mzondi Lungu said Banda is demonstrating the signs of matured and unifying leadership Malawians want to see.

“We are tired of hearing insults, making false and criminal accusations against one another but we want to see leaders talking to each other in the best interests of their people,” UK-based Lungu wrote on his Facebook page.

“Unity starts with leaders and if they are making such steps people will slowly understands that though they may belong to different political parties talking to others of different groups when it comes to important matters affecting others.

“We have seen in developed countries where leaders from different political parties can talk and share a cup of tea, have a laugh or express a common concern despite having political differences and this is something people in Malawi need to be seeing as at the end of the day they all intend to serve Malawians.  A problem shared is half a problem solved, I just hope these concerns former president Dr Joyce Banda has raised will be taken seriously as lives are at stake in hospitals due to persistent black outs and water crisis,” he wrote.

But government and ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesman Nicholous Dausi was sceptical with Banda’s call, saying it is “cynical.”

Dausi said Banda wants to portray the DPP administration as a failure.

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