Malawi’s ever increasing population is said to be undermining delivery of health services in the country’s hospitals, to the effect that sometimes the impact is not felt by those receiving the services.
Despite the commitment demonstrated by nurses, doctors and health staff in general in caring for the patients, the impact of their efforts is eclipsed owing to high demand for the services as evidenced by the numerous patients found in the hospitals’ wards.
Kamuzu Central Hospital Director, Dr Jonathan Ngoma, informed people of the situation who gathered at the hospital (KCH) in Lilongwe Saturday for interdenominational prayers organized in commemoration of International World Day of the Sick.
The event, which was organized by Interdenominational Pastoral Care (IPCC), was presided over by the country’s First Lady Professor Gertrude Mutharika.
“We try our best to provide the best health services, but the big challenge is high demand of services against the health staff that are available,” said Ngoma.
Besides the challenge of high demand for services and inadequate medical equipment in the country’s hospitals, the hospital director also conceded he had heard allegations of some individual health staff ill-treating patients in the course of serving them in the hospital.
Ngoma neither denied nor admitted the prevalence of the behaviour amongst the health staff.
“The problem is that nobody has come to report to us. Without reporting the problems, they cannot be known,” said Ngoma, urging the general public to report such incidents for redress.
Commemoration of the World Day of the Sick was marked by spiritual songs by choir groups of different religious denominations and a homily by IPCC Chairperson, Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe.
In his homily, Bishop Bvumbwe also acknowledged that efforts by health staff, religious institutions and other stakeholders in caring for the sick are pulled back by high demand for the services due to high population.
“If you go to the wards now, especially the children’s ward, there are sick children everywhere. It is time Malawi checked its population to make health care easier,” said Bishop Bvumbwe of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Malawi.
Since it was the mandate of IPCC to help and cheer the sick, Bishop Bvumbwe asked fellow church leaders and those of other religious denominations to seek ways of assisting both the sick and the elderly in hospitals as well as home, saying the task is too enormous to be left to government alone.
“Unfortunately these days such a spirit is dwindling, that is why the youth are in the forefront torturing and bullying the elderly, which was not the case in the past,” said the Bishop.
IPCC is a grouping of different religious denominations in Malawi formed in 2003 with the aim to cheer and assist the sick.
This year, commemoration of World Day of the Sick was based on the theme: Nayu mwana wanu, Nawa mayi ako. It was taken from the Bible where Jesus Christ was advised His mother, Mary, to care for his disciples as her own sons and also told His disciples to care for Mary as their own mother.
Both IPCC and the First Lady donated different food and laundry items to patients at the hospital. Those donated by Professor Gertrude Mutharika were symbolically presented at KCH’s children’s ward.
World Day of the Sick is commemorated yearly on 11th February, but this year it was commemorated on the 24th February due to other technicalities, according to the IPCC Chairperson.
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