Malawi rights groups appeal for urgent redress of challenges facing health system

Local human rights campaigners are accusing President Joyce Banda’s administration of failing “big time” on provision of heath care to Malawians citing recent revelation by medical workers that almost 50 people die of curable ailments a week at referral  Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) alone because of lack of medical supplies.

In a statement, Executive Director for Centre for Development of People (CEDEP) Gift Trapence and acting Executive Director for Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) Timothy Mtambo, are calling upon government to find a lasting solution to the crisis crippling the country’s health system.

“So pathetic is the crisis in our public hospitals that some nurses are forced to put on plastic paper to touch patients due to the shortage of gloves and simple things such as masks… We at CHRR and CEDEP would like to register our deep concern over the continued negligence towards the public hospitals by the government,” reads the statement in part.

Timothy and Trapence

The organizations say are finding it “mind-boggling” that the outcry by the KCH staff comes straight on the heels of the Capital Hill cash gate scandal which has soiled the country’s image on international level.

“We know for a fact that billions of kwacha now housing the lives of few, who can afford private hospitals, could manage to train thousands of doctors for the country. We are talking of the many ART drugs for HIV and AIDs patients that government could have bought with the billions of kwacha now in the hands the greedy few”.

They say it’s irritating and un-called for that it is still the health system that tops the list of bad publicity despite repeated calls from mainly the health workers themselves, media and civil society on government to do something about the situation in the public hospitals.

“Persistently inadequate budgetary allocations; brain drain; stunted salaries; drug shortage and myriad of other poor working conditions are now the characteristics of the country’s public health system. It’s pathetic!” says the statement.

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