Nkhata Bay district health officer (DHO) Dr. Mwatikonda Mbendela has expressed concern over lack of mobile network in some parts of the district which makes patients fail to access ambulance services.
The DHO said this on Wednesday during a district executive committee (DEC) meeting attended by Minister of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Nicholas Dausi.
Mbendera said many people, especially those in rural areas, find it difficult to call the district hospital for a referral case due to lack of telecommunication network.
“Some health workers walk for three hours to access telecommunication network at specific points so that they can call the district hospital for an ambulance, which is very pathetic. Others even climb trees just to access mobile phone network,” he added.
In his remarks, Nkhata Bay district labour officer Lanwell Mkisi said many areas are not connected to ICT services due to the district’s mountainous terrain.
As a result, he said, the telecommunication service providers deny people in the affected areas their constitutional right to access information.
In response, Dausi announced that government will introduce Universal Access Fund to help telecommunication service providers install towers in hard-to-reach areas.
“After Parliament passed the revised Communications Act in 2016, we will establish Universal Access Fund where telecommunication service providers will be accessing funds to reach out to areas where their services are not available,” he said. n