Patients in Mzimba are on the brink of starvation as worsening funding cuts have pushed health facilities to stop offering meals.
Healthcare centres in Mzimba have been providing two meals a day despite the prevailing economic collapse that has compelled most district and central hospitals nationwide to cut back to just one since June.
However, Mzimba South district health officer Alinafe Mbewe revealed they have scrapped off food expenditure following the halving of funding this month.
The deteriorating condition, which Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume says could be symptomatic of weak leadership and misplaced priorities in many districts, has also left ambulances grounded due to lack of fuel. This endangers lives of the rural poor who travel up to 150 kilometres(km) when referred to Mzimba District Hospital.
Speaking during the World Posts Day at Euthini on Friday, Mbewe spoke of the pathetic conditions facing the district which was allocated nearly K195 million for healthcare delivery this year.
She said: “This month, we only received K7.4 million for day-to-day operations, which is almost half of nearly K14 million we have been getting lately.”
The austerity measures include restricting Mzimba South’s four ambulances to critical patients. n