Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation has given a boat ambulance to Likoma District Health Office (DHO) to ease mobility of outpatient referrals.
For many years, patients on Chizumulu and Likoma islands had to wait for Ilala for a week to go to Nkhata Bay District Hospital or Mzuzu Central Hospital for medical service.
In an interview, Ministry of Health spokesperson Joshua Malango said the boat ambulance is expected to get to Likoma any day.
He said: “There are four new boat ambulances meant for some lakeshore districts. The boat ambulance to Likoma will end referral challenges rocking the district.”
Likoma district medical officer Mathias Londo said the boat is good for the DHO and people of Likoma.
He said: “We had no means of referral for cases that needed emergency intervention.
“Previously, we used to refer both emergent and elective cases on Ilala or any other boat at our disposal and this could take us about nine to 10 hours to get to the next level of care.”
Londo said some lives were lost in the course of waiting for transport to referral hospitals.
Sub-traditional authorities Mwase of Likoma and Kabuthu of Chizumulu islands said the boat ambulance will help people cut costs incurred when using vessels to referral hospitals.
“The boat will enable patients to travel comfortably as the other vessels are congested,” said Mwase.
Meanwhile, the DHO has raised concern over fuel expenses as it says the other recurrent transaction funding is about K4.7 million per month and might not be enough to meet operational and maintenance costs; hence, appealling for support to run the boat.