For close to a month now, staff at Chintheche Rural Hospital in Nkhata Bay have been staging a sit-in to protest lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and risk allowances in the face of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Although they are attending to emergencies and patients in wards, the out-patient department (OPD) is not operational, forcing residents around the area to seek medical help from private hospitals.
In an interview, Traditional Authority Malanda said he has been engaging health authorities in the district on the matter, but nothing has materialised so far.
However, he said after he and other stakeholders engaged the district health office (DHO), some equipment was provided.
“But when we expected that they would resume work, they still didn’t. They said what was provided was not enough, and they are in unions, so they are waiting for their bosses in the unions to tell them to go back to work,” he said.
A health worker who spoke on condition of anonymity said the clinical department received two gumboots, which he said were not sufficient for all health workers.
But Nkhata Bay DHO spokesperson Christopher Singini said the facility was operating normally and that reports of disrupted services were political.
He, however, confirmed that some support staff at Nkhata Bay District Hospital had written management to be included among recipients of risk allowances.