The Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) has called for an immediate dismissal of all Chikwawa Hospital officers connected in a scandal that happened at the hospital where some members of staff are alleged to have stolen mattresses meant for patients.
Mhen Executive Director George Jobe highlighted that while investigation and all disciplinary processes are underway, such officers should not be allowed to continue working at the hospital.
“We need an immediate dismissal of the concerned staff as investigations and all disciplinary processes are underway. That should serve as a lesson to others,” Jobe said.
According to Chikwawa Police Station Spokesperson Foster Benjamin, the incident happened on the night of November 20 2017 where about 28 mattresses are said to have been stolen.
He indicated that a guard confessed to have seen a minibus ambulance full of the mattress getting out of the hospital’s main gate and he alerted some junior staff and the news spread to patients and some villagers who reported the matter to police.
“We have managed to recover about 25 mattresses but investigations are still underway. We are currently interrogating about twelve members of staff including senior officers believed to have been involved in the matter,” he said.
According to an eye witness from the district who did not want to be named, there was commotion on Tuesday when police descended on the suspects’ houses in search of the mattresses after patients, villagers and some concerned members of staff called for action from police on the matter.
The eye witness said some members of staff got furious upon hearing reports of the missing mattresses that were a donation to the hospital. They decided to boycott their work and held a vigil at Chikwawa police station demanding action.
“This issue is just a tip on the iceberg; so many things are happening at our hospital including drug pilferage only that the issues are not reported. It is really pathetic,” he said while calling for immediate action from authorities.
When contacted, Ministry of Health spokesperson Joshua Malango said much as his ministry is directly linked to health facilities, such issues are handled at district level following decentralization.