Women Parliamentary Caucus members on Tuesday joined Mponela residents in Dowa in protesting against the Ministry of Healthâ€™s decision to move hospital beds from Mponela Hospital to Mzimba.
About 30 female MPs, among them former minister of information Patricia Kaliati, demanded that the beds be returned to the establishment.
In a statement released later, the MPs said they have given Minister of Health Khumbo Kachali, who is also the countryâ€™s Vice-President, 24 hours to return the beds or they will boycott a scheduled caucus meeting in Lilongwe.
Dressed in white T-shirts and white dresses, the MPs said they decided to stage the protest because several sick patients were forced to sleep on the floor.
The MPs were joined by residents who chanted: â€œAkuba! Akuba! [thieves]â€
Deputy Minister of Health Halima Daudi was immediately whisked away from the scene after meeting her fellow legislators.
The MPs led by their chairperson Cecilia Chazama and Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament Juliana Mphande ignored explanations from both hospital officials and Daudi.
Hospital officials explained that the beds which were taken away were not being used and that they were not from the wards.
But during an earlier visit to the hospital, it was learnt that beds in the wards were wrongly collected instead of the ones in the hospital stores.
Buthelezi Mvula, the hospital in-charge, Dowa district commissioner (DC) Stuart Ngoka, Ministry of Health Principal Secretary Charles Mwansambo, Traditional Authority Mponela and Daudi addressed the MPs and Mponela residents.
Daudi, in an interview, stood her ground, saying there was nothing wrong in what government has done. She said it has always been the practice of her ministry to share resources among hospitals.