Phalombe to petition Malawi Parliament over district hospital

Communities of Phalombe district on Tuesday are expected to hand in their petition to Parliament through the District Commissioner (DC) over government’s failure to construct district hospital.

The communities, under Democracy Consolidated Program funded Umunthu Project run by Institute of Policy Interaction (IPI), are set to deliver the petition, highlighting their concerns over the delay by government to construct the hospital that was promised to them years back.

Surprisingly, information Nyasa Times sourced indicate that Parliament, last year, approved the budget to construct the hospital, and the site was identified and people on the land were already compensated in readiness for relocation.

Meanwhile, the communities have only have a health centre to rely on and based on the information, government is set to construct a surgical ward on the health centre instead of the intended district hospital.

The Programs Manager addressing the team (Mphundu)
The Programs Manager addressing the team (Mphundu)

In an interview, IPI Programs Manager, Mphundu Mjumira said the petition would be one way for Phalombe communities claiming their rights, especially to rights to medication and development.

“The petition is calling for government to adhere to its promise and urge Parliament to ensure the hospital is constructed. Just imagine government is paying almost K5 million monthly for patients outsourcing medical services from a private hospital, and in most instances when there are referral cases, they take time to get help,” said Mjumira.

Mjumira emphasized that the petition presentation was not political in nature, saying the whole process was organized by the communities themselves under the Umunthu Project.

“The project monitoring committee visited us to tell us that they will be presenting a petition to the DC and then to the parliament. Its not politics but to remind government since they were promised the hospital will be constructed by 2014; but there is nothing on the site.

“They were also told that materials are in place as the hospital will be constructed soon. To their surprise, they are now being told that only a surgical ward will be constructed beside the existing Health center”.

The Umunthu Project has 24 Volunteers Called Umunthu Ambassadors, four each Traditional Authority (T/A) in the district. The project has Umunthu Local Committees, which have 10 members each.

“We have over 1000 volunteers in Phalombe working on Umunthu Project. The project is to sensitize people to know their rights especially Right to development. And it’s not only knowing but claiming them,” added Mjumira.

Last Friday representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs) stormed Parliament in Lilongwe to deliver petitions requesting for the august House to  increase to 15 percent the budgetary allocation to the health sector as stipulated in the Abuja Declaration of 2001.

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