Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) response and recovery director the Reverend Moses Chimphepo has said government is working to restore services at Balaka District Hospital following a fire accident on Friday.
The fire destroyed the kitchen, laundry, stores and data and records units in addition to disrupting power supply which resulted in the death of one critically ill patient on oxygen support.
During his visit to the hospital on Friday, Chimphepo said government wants the hospital to reopen as soon as possible.
“The Office of the President and Cabinet has donated relief items such as flour, beans, salt, pails, cups and plates to enable the hospital provide meals to patients since all food items were destroyed in the fire,” he said.
Balaka North legislator Tony Ngalande said the fire has dealt a blow to people of Balaka whose relatives and friends admitted to the facility have been moved to Ntcheu and Machinga district hospitals.
“Balaka has no purpose-built district hospital despite previous budget allocations for the same,” he said.
Ngalande said there is need for government to equip district councils with firefighting equipment because property could have been saved if the equipment were near.
Speaking earlier when Ministry of Health officials visited the hospital to assess the damage, Balaka District director of health and social services Eugene Katenga-Kaunda said they will reopen the hospital to all services except admissions on Today.
“We are, therefore, working to restore electricity first. However, we also lost personal protective equipment to thieves posing as well-wishers during the rescue,” he said.
The fire destroyed property estimated at K150 million.