Disgruntled people of Phalombe District yesterday petitioned President Peter Mutharika over government’s failure to roll out the district hospital project five years after it started receiving funding in the national budget.
In the petition presented to Phalombe district commissioner (DC) Paul Kalilombe, the residents have, among others, given Mutharika 14 days to visit the district and appreciate their concerns.
Reads part of the petition: “We request you to come to Phalombe and hear our cry within 14-days.”
In a telephone interview yesterday, Kalilombe confirmed that the council received the petition on behalf of the President.
However, Kalilombe said since the first petition several activities have taken place to lessen the people’s pressure in terms of access to health facility while waiting for the start of the project. He said, for example, government has constructed a theatre room, an additional ward, part of administration block at Phalombe Health Centre and disbursement of compensation to owners of the land where the new hospital will be built.
However, the residents are impatient with the delays to start construction and have threatened to stop further construction works at the health centre should the President defy their petition.
Due to unavailability of a district hospital, government struck a service level agreement with Holy Family Mission Hospital, owned by the Catholic Church, where most cases in the district are referred and reports indicate that government pays the private hospital around K6 million monthly for its services.
In an earlier interview, Treasury spokesperson Nations Msowoya told The Nation although government had been showing the amounts in the budget “they were only for purposes of budgeting” and no funds were drawn, a development some economic and social analysts have been questioning.