Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in Lilongwe has suspended screening services at the facility’s main entrance.
Following the Covid-19 pandemic, hospitals introduced screening services to prevent the spread of the disease, but the process is said to have led to abuse of people visiting the hospital.
In a statement issued on November 23 2020 signed by KCH director Jonathan Ngoma, the hospital states that, from December 1 2020, it will stop the screening services to respect people’s rights.
The hospital says patients and guardians have the right to respect, access health facilities and freedom from abuse.
Reads the statement: “The hospital says it cannot tolerate violation of the rights of people the health personnel pledged to serve.
“Much as the activities helped in controlling traffic in the hospital, the violation of rights of those we pledge to serve can never be tolerated.”
Ministry of Health spokesperson Joshua Malango declined to comment on the development yesterday, saying the issue of complaints on hospital processes is not dealt with at ministerial level.
But in a separate interview, KCH spokesperson Chiyanjano Kazombo stressed that Covid-19 preventive measures will still be adhered to.
She said: “People try to force their way without being screened and when they are stopped, they speak rudely to the staff. When the staff hit back, it becomes a verbal war which sometimes turns physical.”
Both Minister of Health Khumbize Chiponda and her co-chair of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 John Phuka did not pick up their phones when called for comment.
Malawi Health Equity Network executive director George Jobe commended the hospital for responding to challenges that people are facing following introduction of screening services.
He said some people who need urgent attention are forced to stop at the entrance for screening and that such delays may put lives at risk.