Shortage of ambulances in Chitipa is slowing access to quality health services in rural communities.
People in Nthalire, almost 115 kilometres from Chitipa District Hospital, said patients and pregnant women keep dying of treatable conditions due to lack of an ambulance.
Speaking during a meeting organised by Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), they complained that they are paying huge costs to transport patients that Nthalire Health Centre staff refer to Chitipa.
Nthalire Ward councillor Christopher Mnyenyembe asked government and development partners to provide an ambulance to save lives in Nthalire.
Currently, Chitipa District Hospital has only one ambulance that serves a population of almost 2 000.
“It is surprising that my area is not a priority in terms of referral services by the district hospital. Last year, an ambulance was only available for selected maternity cases,’’ he said.
But assistant district environmental health officer Mordecai Mbowe, who represented district health officer Ted Bandawe, said the far-flung health centre will have an ambulance in May.
“Plan Malawi, through the In-path project, is procuring four ambulances for Chitipa district,” he said.
CCJP is implementing a governance project in selected parts of the border district to promote transparency and accountability in health service delivery.