Pregnant women, under-five children and others in need of health services in Traditional Authority (T/A) Kuntaja in Blantyre are being denied their right to health following the closure in 2012 of two community health facilities.
Kuntaja told Malawi News Agency (Mana) recently that people in the area walk long distances to access health services since the two community health centres, built in 2010 by an NGO Centre for Women and Social Development (CWSD), ceased operations.
“The nearest health facilities are Chileka and Dziwe Health Centres which are 25 kilometres away from my headquarters. Imagine pregnant women and other sick people walking such a long distance to access health services,” bemoaned Kuntaja.
He appealed to government to consider re-introducing delivery of the essential health services to Chilangoma and Kumanda community centres.
CWSD national coordinator Esther Moyo attributed the closure of the health centres to suspension of funding by Irish donor, Gorta.
“We used to get funding from our donor of Ireland which enabled us to buy essential drugs, fuel and also pay allowances to staff we were getting from the Blantyre District Health Office for three days in a week,” said Moyo.
She said the funding was suspended in February 2012 due to reasons beyond the NGO’s control.
But Moyo was optimistic that the donor would resume funding to the NGO.
“We used to have community development, food security, water and sanitation programmes, supporting the elderly, HIV testing and counseling, malaria testing, treatment and under five clinics which were really benefiting people in the area,” she said.