Karonga District Hospital has suspended embalming services at its mortuary due to lack of resources.
The move has resulted in private individuals invading the facility to offer embalming services at a fee of K10 000.
Karonga district health officer (DHO) Phinias Mfune confirmed the development at a meeting last week.
Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) of Karonga Diocese organised the meeting for residents to seek answers from the DHO and officials from the Northern Region Health Zone Support Office.
During the meeting, the residents wondered if government introduced paying services at the district’s mortuary.
In response, Mfune said the district is failing to meet costs of drugs to embalm bodies at the facility. As such, he said the district decided to suspend the services.
“So, those who work at the mortuary buy their own drugs for embalming and charge individuals seeking such services,” he said.
However, Mfune distanced his office from such practices, saying he did not sanction anyone to venture into the business.
Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) executive director George Jobe said his organisation has observed that some public hospitals in the country charge a fee for such services.
He said this is abuse of resources because health services in public hospitals are supposed to be free.n