Patients in Karonga District are digging deeper into their pockets to access X-ray services following the breaking down of the scanning machine at the district hospital in January this year.
Following the development, patients were being referred to Atupele Community Hospital, about 35 kilometres away from Karonga Boma for scanning services.
Unfortunately, the machine at Atupele Community Hospital has also developed a fault. Now patients are being referred to either Chitipa District Hospital or Mzuzu Central Hospital for scanning services.
In an interview, Karonga District director of health and social services David Sibale said lightning, which struck in January, destroyed a number of electrical appliances at Karonga District Hospital, including the X-ray machine.
“Right now experts are assessing the extent of the damage and its costs to bring the machine back to life,” he said.
In a separate interview, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace health governance officer Obert Mkandawire said the breakdown of the machine was a setback to healthcare delivery in the district.
“Referring patients to other health facilities is expensive, especially for the poor who can hardly pay for such services at private hospitals,” he said.
Mkandawire has since appealed to the Ministry of Health to source funds and repair the machine.
But Minister of Health Khumbidze Chiponda could not be reached on her mobile phone on several attempts.
Karonga District Hospital serves a population of about 380 000 people.