Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa on Wednesday officially opened Biwi Health Centre in Lilongwe constructed with funding from the government of Japan but apologised to the donor for the delay.
The construction of the centre started in 2012 after Japan gave Lilongwe City Council (LCC) $190 000 (about K140 million) before the project was stopped due to the unqualified design and substandard work that caused the pillar at the main entrance to collapse.
Nankhumwa, who was accompanied by Japanese Ambassador Kae Yanagasiwa and Lilongwe City mayor Desmond Bikoko, said the health sector is one of government’s priority areas.
“I must apologise for the delay [in finalising the project] because I had to order the demolition of the first structure after management of LCC then did not do good work,” he said.
LCC had to invest a further K178 million to reconstruct the new facility which, apart from the maternity ward, has an out-patient department, HIV testing and counselling facilities and the centre for the diagnosis of non-communicable diseases.
Nagasawa said an audit team from Japan inspected the project and was not satisfied.
“The audit report was sent to the National Diet of Japan and was classified as one of the most unsuccessful cases in Malawi. This had serious negative impacts on subsequent projects in Malawi,” she said.
Nagasawa commended LCC for “taking bold steps in rectifying the problems and working tirelessly towards the completion of the project”.
“I urge LCC to ensure that they deploy adequate staff as well as necessary medicine and equipment to the clinic,” she said.
Ministry of Health chief director Beston Chisamile thanked the Japanese Government for the donation of medical equipment, saying the Malawi Government they will ensure that everything is in place.