Bed bugs locally known as nsikidzi have infested Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe causing discomfort to patients and guardians.
The guardians said they sleep on bare floors because the absence of electricity in the guardian shelter worsens the attacks, with patients also being forced to endure the irritating bites.
In an interview on Tuesday, Lilongwe district health officer (DHO) Mwawi Mwale confirmed the problem and acknowledged the hygiene challenges the hospital is facing.
He said: “The bed bugs problem is mainly fuelled by hygiene problems because people admitted to the facility come from different households,” he said.
“Some of them bring beddings and clothes that are already infested and they re-introduce the pests after we fumigate [the wards], making it impossible for us to have a permanent solution.”
Mwale said they are conducting community mobilisation to teach people how to control the spread.
A janitor in one of the hospital wards said the problem is not new at the institution and said most workers have since carried the parasites to their homes.
Internet searches reveal that bed bugs multiply quickly in overcrowded places and they carry disease organisms, but they are not known to transmit diseases themselves.
However, the insect bites causes itching, swelling or blister-like skin inflammations. n