More than 100 people in Dedza on Friday sang and danced protest songs during a peaceful demonstration aimed at prodding authorities to urgently increase funding to Dedza District Hospital as more patients are dying in the face of crippled services at the cash-strapped institution.
Dedza assistant district registrar Boniface Butawo received the petition on behalf of Dedza district commissioner James Kanyangalazi.
Butawo assured the demonstrators that the district administrators would speedily forward the petition to the National Assembly as it was addressed to the Parliamentary Committee on Health. He commended the demonstrators for keeping peace during their mission.
Aaron Nyondo of Dedza’s National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives in Malawi (NONMM) said apart from being influenced by the ever-deteriorating services as the district hospital, the petitioners were also expressing worry over the hospital woes nationally.
“The thrust of our message urges the Parliamentary Committee on Health to seriously lobby for increased funding to hospitals across the country because most hospitals are almost dead now. They are not offering health services as they used to be doing.
“At Dedza District maybe have one or two deaths per day. But now that number has gone up to five or six. They are dying, as we are watching helplessly, because of inadequate resources at this facility,” he lamented.
Nyondo said during recent monthly meetings of health personnel at the hospital, it was disclosed that the facility used to be funded between K35 million ($58,422) and K38 million ($63,429.6) per month, when things were operating normally.
But he explained that since June this year, the budget was slashed to K11 million ($18,361.2) per month only, the figure improving to K20 million ($33,384) last month. He said the funding squeeze has seen the hospital’s ambulances grounded, for a lack of fuel, with the facility neither affording most essential drugs nor providing adequate food for the patients.
“If you can get to our facility today, you can cry,” he declared, adding that the ordinary people are suffering, while Capital Hill officials churn out funding figures which do not reflect the reality in the hospitals, where critical life-saving equipment is in need of repairs or replacing, among other challenges,” Nyondo added. n