Communities around Chisitu in Mulanje can now afford a smile as construction of a K45 million Maternity Wing , courtesy of the Malawi Gaming Board (MGB) nears completion.
The wing, being constructed at Chisitu Health Centre, will assist about 2000 expectant mothers every year. They currently travel for as long as 10 kilometres to Mulanje District Hospital or Mulanje Mission Hospital to deliver.
Speaking on Thursday when MGB officials and Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Tourism and Civic Education Justin Saidi toured the construction works, Senior Medical Assistant at the facility, Francisco Ngwenya, said the wing will help ease congestion and enhance service delivery.
“At the moment, we don’t handle deliveries and without an ambulance, it is difficult when delivery has come as an emergency. We also don’t have enough space to carter for all health services.
“What we have done is to dedicate Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays for OPD [Out-Patient Department], Wednesdays are for HIV related issues and Thursdays are for Antenatal services, family planning and OPD, ” he said.
MGB chief executive officer Master Maliro said the facility, whose construction started in September this year, will be completed by end of February next year.
He said MGB will continue to use part of the gaming levy it collects from the gambling industry to enhance service delivery in the health sector, especially in rural areas.
On his part, Saidi appealed for more people to participate in legalised gambling so that many health facilities are constructed across the country.
“In gambling, money from the rich goes to help the poor like in this case where thousands of people in Mulanje will be assisted. I urge many people to patronise legalised gaming places so that more levy is collected to build more health facilities in Malawi,” he urged.
Opened in 2002, Chisitu Health Centre assists 23 villages with a population of around 32000 people. It has two clinicians, one nurse and 27 Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs).