The construction of the long-awaited $22 million Phalombe district hospital has started with President Peter Mutharika laying a foundation stone commissioning construction works at Migowi in the district and the Kuwaiti building contractor has been given 10 months deadline to complete the project.
President Mutharika said his government understands the importance of health services hence the prioritization of the hospital that he said would be providing advanced and reliable services.
In an address monitored by Nyasa Times on taxpayer-funded Malawi Broadcasting Station (MBC) television, Mutharika said: “I know that you have waited for 20 years to have a hospital and all the previous parties [including DPP’s eight years under Bingu wa Mutharika] have failed to construct a hospital here.”
He added: “During my campaign period, I promised to build a hospital here and this is what I am doing, fulfilling my campaign promises.”
The project was mooted during the administration of United Democratic Front (UDF) under former president Bakili Muluzi.
On health, the Malawi leader reminded people of Phalombe of his various achievements aimed at standardizing health services provided in the country, citing the cancer center under construction in Lilongwe as an example.
He also pledged that government will rehabilitate a number of other public hospitals in the country and build another cancer centre in Blantyre.
Speaking earlier, Minister of Health, Dr. Peter Kumpalume, commended Mutharika for taking the necessary steps in ensuring that the Phalombe District Hospital dream is realised.
Kumpalume said according to the current agreement between the government and the contractor, the hospital is expected to be finished by the end of 18 months from the day construction works begins.
“Your Excellency I would like to warn the contractor that this ministry does not take delays in a friendly manner, therefore, he should make sure that he delivers in time so that the people of Phalombe can start enjoying the fruits of our work,” said Kumpalume.
Phalombe District Hospital project has been a thorny issue for a long time with people asking government to clarify on allocations in the national budget since 2005 towards the project.
In 2015 disgruntled people in Phalombe petitioned the President on the stalled project.