Cashgate style abuse of public funds has stalled Kamphenda Health Centre in Rumphi for six years.
In 2012, government approved construction of one health centre per district. However, a contractor at Kamphenda only dug a foundation and left.
When this reporter visited the area, it was established the project site is obscured by overgrown grass.
The area is currently served by a dilapidated dispensary that operates with one health official. The nearest health facility is located 30 kilometres away.
Group village head Zung’uzu said he and other chiefs have been to several government offices to follow up on the project but their efforts have been in vain.
“The project was supposed to be completed within a year but it is now over five years. We are suffering and no one seems to care. Expectant mothers travel long distances to deliver and some are forced to give birth at home,” he said.
Kamphenda Village Development Committee chairperson Chiza Mkandawire said the contractor was only on site for two months.
“At first, there were issues to do with payment but later we saw the contractor coming to start work. However, he left again and never returned,” said Mkandawire.
Rumphi West member of Parliament Jacqueline Kouwenhoven said when she tried to follow up on the project, she was told that funds for the project had been abused.
Kouwenhoven expressed sadness that people suffer to access health services yet someone abused funds for the project. She said the absence of the facility has put thousands of lives at risk and there is need for government to look into the issue.