Communities from Traditional Authority (T/A) Bwananyambi in Mangochi have been advised to demand social services from duty-bearers, saying it is within their constitutional right to do so.
The advice was by the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust on Monday at Mbalama Health Centre in the area during the field monitoring visit.
NICE’s advice came at a time when communities around the health facility are crying foul over government’s reluctance to deploy a Medical Assistant and Nurses at the health facility.
Built in 1999, the health facility has been operating without the services of a medical assistant and nurse, despite having four decent houses meant for the medics.
Speaking at the event, NICE Regional Civic Education Officer for Central Region, Christopher Naphiyo, disclosed that when duty-bearers are adamant to calls and demands by the communities to address certain issues, it needs people to be proactive and dog them, saying things work swiftly and response are made as possible.
“Duty-bearers in the public service have for a long time exploited the ignorance of most communities to deprive them of their essential services. This is detrimental and has adverse effect as it results in a number of social ills,” said Naphiyo.
He said Mbalama Health Centre could be another shining example, where duty-bearers capitalize communities’ passiveness to deny people social services.
“It is difficult for duty-bearers to convince communities who are vigilant enough that a health facility which was built as a health centre and has all the necessary facilities, is a health post. Had it been that the communities were empowered enough, I don’t think things of this nature could exist as they could take to task the duty-bearers,” hinted Naphiyo.
He said it is against this background that NICE with funds from European under Programme Estimate Number 2 wants to empower people from the communities to know their rights so that they can hold duty-bearers accountable and demand better services from them in a quest to enhance community development.