Kabua Health Centre in Traditional Authority Khosolo in Mzimba has had no water for 27 years, forcing expectant women to take a bath in Dwangwa River, three kilometres away.
The health centre, located about 240 km from Mzimba District Hospital, was constructed in 1989 by World Vision and serves a population of about 6 800 people, but it has never had water connection.
Ireen Mbale, 23, from Kalenganiko Village, who is heavily pregnant and is waiting to deliver at the health centre, said in an interview that women there draw water from Dwangwa River for their day-to-day use as there is no borehole nearby.
“It becomes worse when a woman has just had a baby because if she did not keep enough water prior to giving birth, she can hardly walk the distance,” said Mbale
Veronica Mwenda, who gave birth at the facility a few months ago, said most pregnant women prefer giving birth at home due to the water problem at the health centre.
Mwenda said Kabua Health Centre has no electricity and that when a woman is in labour at night, they use candles.
“For three years now, there has not been electricity at this facility,” lamented Mwenda
National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) volunteer in the area Anderson Banda said the people of Kabua feel neglected by government.
He said the area’s Member of Parliament, Rabson Chihaula Shaba (Independent), provided a ceiling for the health centre.
Trouble Banda, the centre’s only nurse, said the facility has many problems. He said even referrals are difficult as they do not have an ambulance.
He further lamented being the only nurse at the facility, saying he is overworked.
When contacted, Mzimba district health officer Alinafe Mbewe referred the matter to district’s principal health services administrator Yafete Mandiza, who said they will soon visit the health centre and see how they can help.