The chief executive officer of Horizon Health Malawi Elsie Elizabeth Munthali on Thursday spent a night at Katete Community Hospital in Champhira, Mzimba, which is in dire need of resources, including antibiotics for women with uterus infections.
Munthali wanted to experience first-hand what pregnant women go through at the rural facility which has a catchment area of over 18 000 and acts as a referral facility in the area.
Currently, the hospital, which is under the Catholic Diocese of Mzuzu, has no theatre, incubator, oxygen concentrators and adjustable hospital beds.
In an interview, Munthali said she took part in Nation Publications Limited’s Mother’s Fun Run (MFR) sleepover challenge to support the hospital which has been serving people for over 59 years.
“I chose this facility because it is in the rural area, and serves a large population, but with limited resources,” she said.
Briefing Munthali, the hospital’s chief clinical officer Chipiliro Chirwa said the hospital is in desperate need of incubators and oxygen concentrators.
Chirwa further said apart from limited resources, the hospital only has two clinicians, instead of about six, and 15 nurses serving the population.
“We are over stretched and sometimes fail to offer best services to our clients because of these challenges,” he said.
He further said the hospital does not have a theatre; hence all complications are referred to Mzimba South Hospital, which is about 70 kilometres from Champhira.
“Some patients die on the way to the hospital. It would, therefore, be ideal for this facility to have a theatre,” he explained.
Chirwa also disclosed that government, which owes the facility over K10 million, has not been honouring the service level agreement for the past four months, a development he said has pushed the facility into more financial constraints.
“Government is not consistent in honouring the agreement. As a result, we are even failing to buy gloves and essential drugs, including antibiotics for the women,” he said.
Among other antibiotics missing is Ceftriaxone, which is administered to women with uterus infections.
Chirwa also said the hospital is failing to maintain its ambulances due to insufficient funds.
While at the facility, Munthali witnessed a nurse on duty at the labour ward using the last normal saline at the facility on an expectant mother.