Karonga District Hospital officials have confessed that the hospital has privatized some of its services including a mortuary due to lack of resources and that embalming services is now charged at a fee of K10 000.
The officials made the confession after being summoned by the Catholic Commission for Justice (CCJP) of Karonga Diocese.
Karonga CCJP also summoned the Northern Region Health Zone Support Office to answer questions from the community.
Speaking during the meeting, Karonga District Health Officer (DHO) Phinias Mfune said the mortuary services are carried by some of the hospital workers with money from their own pockets.
Mfune said the district is failing to meet costs of drugs to embalm bodies at the facility. As such, he said the district decided to suspend the services.
“So, those who work at the mortuary buy their own drugs for embalming and charge individuals seeking such services,” he said.
Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) executive director George Jobe said his organisation has observed that some public hospitals in the country charge a fee for such services.
He said this is abuse of resources because health services in public hospitals are supposed to be free.
President Peter Mutharika is on record saying on BBC that his government has set up plans to privatise some service in public hospitals in improve healthcare as part of public reforms aimed at improving efficiency and quality services.
He said the plans are meant to address the current drug shortages which he said started with donors’ decision to withdraw aid from Malawi following cashgate corruption scandal.
“We have no medicines in hospitals. We are trying to bring private sector into hospital management and we hope it will work” Mutharika told BBC.
His government already announced plans to privatise mortuaries in a bid to improve efficiency and quality services towards handling of corpses in all public hospitals due to series of shocking incidents of decomposition.
There has been series of shocking incidents of faults mortuaries which leads to decomposition of corpses .
Government set up a task force to look into the feasibility plan on how it will work considering that most mortuaries are out-dated and do not tick to the current health standards of handling corpses.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :