Communities surrounding Mlare Health Centre in Karonga are enduring extra costs and long travels to access life-saving service as the sole medical assistant at the facility is on leave.
Health Advisory Committee chairperson Vyanangika Mkwala said patients were struggling to access medication as the facility has not been operational since October 20.
Mkwala said pregnant women and critical patients are the worst hit by the staffing crisis at the health centre.
“We reported the matter to assistant health service administrator at Karonga District Health Office and he promised to respond accordingly. Up to now, no one has taken over the duties,” he said.
But district health officer Phinias Mfune asked for more time to find out more about the issue.
Karonga is one of the districts hit hard by shortage of skilled health workers.
Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) district coordinator Gracian Mbewe said shutdown of the health centre poses a threat to life.
“It is pathetic that people are being denied their right of accessing health services which is not good. We will meet the DHO to ensure a health worker is sent to Mlare. We plead with government to recruit more staff for rural health centres,” he said. n