Operations at Chikwawa District Hospital have been crippled by huge utility debts amounting to over K60 million.
The District’s Director of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Dr Stalin Nzikanda told deputy minister of health Chrissie Kalamula Kanyasho when she visited the hospital this week that the facility owes Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) over K40 million and Southern Region water Board K20 million in unpaid utility bills.
Nzikanda said the situation has affected daily operations at the hospital as it is not able to meet other running costs such as procurement of fuel for its ambulances thereby affecting health service delivery at the hospital.
He therefore requested government to consider bailing out the debt-saddled hospital.
“As a district hospital we are really facing some challenges which we thought we could bring to the attention of the Deputy Minister. Particularly we have requested government to consider bailing the hospital out of its utility debts.
“We really need government assistance,” said Nzikanda.
He added that the district hospital having been constructed some 80 years ago is too old with most of its infrastructure being dilapidated calling upon government to consider building a new hospital for the district.
On her part, the Deputy Minister of health said most hospitals in the country are struggling to pay utility bills.
She called upon District Health offices across the country to consider finding alternative sources of energy such as solar as well as other alternative sources of water such as boreholes.
Chikwawa District Hospital was built around 1940s and it now service a population of 600 thousand people.