An influential newspaper columnist has gone to town accusing the Peter Mutharika led administration of “ genocide” over report that 19 out 44 new born babies are dying every 28 days in the northern district of Mzimba, saying government is “doing it intentionally”.
George Kasakula, editor-in-chief of Times Group writing on his ‘Hitting the nail’ column in Malawi News of Saturday June 25, commented on the report by Mamaye Evidence for Change Campaign that indicates that the increasing numbers of child death are as a result of a shambolic health service delivery caused by low funding.
According to the results of the analysis, 44 babies are born every day in the district but 19 die within 28 days of their lives while two women die per month due to maternity related problems.
“The immediate cause of the deaths varies, with hemorrhage topping the list of the causes as it claims 30% of those lives seconded by anemia which claims 22%, sepsis account with 15%, eclampsia 11%, pulmonary embolism 4% and other factors accounting for 18%,” read part of the report.
In ‘Hitting the nail’, the Malawi News columnist argue that the deaths is a “ scandal” that should attract presidential commissions of inquiry and calls for heads to roll at the end of such a process.
The column states that the deaths is all down to “poor health delivery” at the main district hospital and its 31 peripheral health centres “as a result of funding cuts by the DPP government.”
The columnist hails Mzimba District Commissioner Thomas Chirwa, for being “uncharacteristically honest unlike other lying civil servants” that Treasury has thought it wise to appropriate to Mzimba District Hospital only K3.6 million out of the normal monthly K15 million.
Chirwa is quoted saying in the local press: “We have problems because if you look at the funding for the district it is quite very low. For example we had a problem from July where our funding was transposed with another district, a smaller one where we were given figures from that district.
“DHO North only got MK1.6 million while DHO South got MK3.7 million and with such low funding as of now all the ambulances from the different health centers that we have are parked at the district hospital in both DHOs meaning that they cannot serve the people out there.”
Kasakula in his column pointed out that the situation is not limited to Mzimba but “ a story just about everything” in Mutharika’s administration.
“The DPP government, because it has no clue on how to take the economy out of the intensive care unit, let alone widening the tax base, is chopping funding to just every other department except State House,” reads the ‘Hitting the nail’ column.
“One would have thought social delivery systems such as health would be spared the chop. But nay, the health system is the worst victim as the Mzimba incident is clearly demonstrating,” is reads.
The columnist observed that the poor from the rural Malawi have borne the full blunt of the deep cuts to healthcare and “the inevitable results” are the alarming deaths in Mzimba.
“This amounts to genocide and the DPP government is doing it intentionally. It cannot run away from this,” he writes.
He pleads with Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe to tackle on the inefficiencies in government that can save a lot of money and stop the deaths in Mzimba and other parts of the country “where poor Malawians are dying like tsetse flies of Kasungu National Park.”
The column concludes by stating: “This government has blood on its hands and it does not seem to care.”
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