Nyungwe Health Centre and Chilumba Rural Hospital in Karonga have stayed for two weeks without electricity due to non-payment of bills.
In an interview, Karonga District Hospital administrator Clement Gonthi said his office is failing to pay K300 000 and K500 000 to Nyungwe Health Centre and Chilumba Rural Hospital, respectively, for electricity bills due to the destruction of a cheque book in the District Commissioner’s office set alight by angry protesters on July 4.
“We cannot process payment through health sector joint fund to Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi [Escom] because the cheque pad was burnt down,” he said.
In a separate interview, Chilumba Health Centre management committee chairperson Kiddah Munthali said the situation is dire as patients, especially expectant women, have been greatly affected. He said storage of drugs that require refrigeration is also compromised.
“Yes, I can confirm that Chilumba Rural Hospital has been operating without electricity for the past two weeks,” he said, adding that she fears contamination and outbreak of water borne diseases as hygiene and sanitation have been compromised.
In another interview, a health rights commentator Maziko Matemba said the situation is sad and needs urgent attention to ensure that the interests of patients are safeguarded.
Karonga district commissioner Emmanuel Bulukutu assured the two facilities that power will be restored soon.