Phalombe, a district in Southern Malawi , remains without a public district hospital over a decade after being declared a district.
The district was formerly part of Mulanje district, before former president Bakili Muluzi declared it a district.
The development has formed people from the district, most of whom live on less than US$1 a day, to opt for expensive private hospitals- further draining their hard-earned resources, resources that would otherwise have been used for other household development initiatives.
People currently depend on Holy Family Mission Hospital , a Christian Health Association of Malawi (Cham) member. Holy Family also owns a medical college, but intake has remained very low because of failure by the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) to connect the institution to the national electricity grid.
This comes over 10 years after Holy Family College applied for electricity connectivity.
This has not gone down well with Malawi ’s Health Minister, Prof Moses Chibambo, who has vowed to shake Escom into connecting the institution to the electricity grid.
“I will do all I can to convince Escom to connect Holy Family College . As you have heard, failure to connect the institution has affected the intake of new students. It is too bad,” said Chibambo.
There is no kitchen at Holy Family Mission Hospital , 10 years after fired gutted down the hospital’s kitchen in 1999. There is no guardian shelter as well, making if more than difficult for guardians.
Phalombe District Health Officer, Raphael Piringu, hopes that the district could soon have a district hospital following government’s assurance that Phalombe is one of the three district earmarked for a district hospital during the 2009/10 fiscal year.
Plans are in the pipeline to start construction of a new hospital next month.
“We really need a district hospital. Currently, people are facing lots of challenges to access health services as they mostly depend on private health facilities, most of which are too expensive for ordinary community members,” said Piringu.
A district hospital is one of the key requirements for a district, though lack of them in some of Malawi ’s administrative districts remains a major challenge to the country’s health infrastructure system.
Blantyre also has no district hospital, forcing people to rush to the referral Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital even at the beck and call of a headache.