Dedza District (marked Red) is in the midist of a blood supplies' crisis that some district hospital officials are cashing onTo make matters worse, there are no receipts issued to blood buyers as senior hospital officials are pocketing the money.
This contravenes blood donation principles as, basically, blood transfusion is free.
The Malawi Blood Transfusion Service (MBTS), the institution mandated with the task of collecting blood from the general public, collects blood for free, and has been working with the European Union to raise public awareness about the importance of donating blood.
Collected blood is then tested and sent to various institutions, including district hospitals such as Dedza.
However, Dedza District Hospital officials are taking advantage of blood scarcity at the institution, as well as high blood demand among pregnant women, to charge exorbitant prices.
Zachimalawi visited the facility on Friday, after receiving reports of blood sales at the district hospital, and our findings were shocking.
Just the previous day, Thursday, a senior official at the hospital held meetings with 15 pregnant women- 11 of whom are expected to under-go caesarian operation this coming Monday- in which he told them point-blank to either pay for blood, or find their own means to get such blood.
Most of the women interviewed from 12pm to 1 pm on Friday (20 women in total) told Zachimalawi they could not manage to buy blood.
Most of them depend on hospital meals (typically, Nsima and beans; with occasional vegetables that almost always run short mid-way through the patients' beds); walk bare-footed, as a pair of shoes is virtually a luxury; wear dirty wrappings, in face of high soap prices; and nurse swollen faces and legs, apparently due to anaemia.
It was clear that, despite recent National Statistic Office (NSO) findings that 62 per cent of the Malawian population has now jumped over the poverty (One United States Dollar-a-day poverty threshold), poverty still reigns surpreme in Dedza- one of Malawi's backwater districts.
It was also clear that demanding money from these poor women is pegging the cost of health services abit higher, and out of the rich, for Malawi's poor.
Zachimalawi can reveal that, as of Friday, blood prices were as follows:
100 pints of blood: K1000
200 pints of blood: K2,000
300 pints of blood: K4,000
400 pints of blood: K6,000
500 pints of blood: K8,500
1000 pints of blood:K12,000
Zachimalawi could, however, not establish the cost of blood above 1000 pints.
Two women approached Zachimalawi for financial assistance, and Zachimalawi promised to visit again this Monday, with the said funds.
More details about the sale of blood (which is supposed to be free, anyway) at Dedza District Hospital will be furnished this week, after Zachimalawi's intended next visit on Monday.
Zachimalawi can also promise that we will try as much as possible to get the names of the officials propagating the practice next week. If possible, we will even publish their photos on this Blog.
The practices at Dedza District Hospital contravene MBTS's assurance that blood donated is distributed to needy patients for free, and raises fears that blood donations may be misused in many other ways in public hospitals.
FACTS ABOUT DEDZA
The timezone in Dedza District is Africa/Blantyre
Sunrise at 05:36 and Sunset at 18:16. It's light
Latitude. -14.1666667°, Longitude. 34.3333333°
Where is Dedza District?Full-screenDedza District
Dedza is a district in the Central Region of Malawi. It covers an area of 3,624 km.² to the south of the Malawi capital, Lilongwe, between Mozambique and Lake Malawi.
The western part of the district is on the Central African Plateau at an altitude of 1200 to 1600m. Higher mountain ranges separate this from land alongside Lake Malawi in the Rift Valley at 500m. The landscape is a mixture of grassland with granite outcrops, natural woodland and commercial pine plantations on the mountains and some bamboo forest nearer the Lake. The wet season is November to April with almost no rainfall at other times. The higher altitudes have moderate temperatures and can be cold in June and July.
The main town is Dedza Township located on the M1 road 85km south of Lilongwe. The town has banks, post office, petrol stations, accommodation and a range of shops. There are smaller market towns with a post office, police station, shops and market - Lobi, Linthipe, Mayani, Mtakataka. Most of the people live in rural villages as subsistence farmers.
The M1 road linking Lilongwe with Blantyre runs through the centre of the District. The M5 Salima to Balaka road runs parallel to the Lake and the S126 Masasa to Golomoti road joins the two just south of the district boundary. The western part of the district has no major roads.
The initial results of the 2008 census put the population of the district at 623,789, an increase of 28% over the 1998 figure.
The district has 8 parliamentary constituencies and 32 wards that elect members to the Dedza District Assembly - the local government authority. There are 8 Traditional Authority Areas headed by chiefs and Dedza Township has its own Assembly.
Apart from a commercial rice growing project at the side of Lake Malawi, agriculture is family based smallholdings. Larger businesses are limited to Paragon Ceramics (floor and roof tiles, Dedza Pottery ceramics), WICO Sawmill and a rose grower.
There are a number of tourist attractions in the district. There are four forest reserves - Dedza-Salima, Chongoni, Dedza Mountain and Mua-Livulezi. Chongoni has a UNESCO World Heritage listed rock art site. Dedza Pottery (http://www.dedzapottery.com) is famous for its coffee shop and ceramics and has accommodation. The Kungoni Cultural Centre at Mua (http://www.kungoni.org) has a museum that displays the cultural heritage of the tribes of central Malawi, a wood carving school and accommodation.
Dedza District is linked with Norwich, UK by a UK based charity - the Norwich-Dedza Partnerhip (http://www.norwich-dedza.org) . The Partnership supports education, health, agriculture, tourism development and public sector organisations thorugh volunteer workers, supply of computers and other materials and small scale funding.
Geographic features & Photographs around Dedza District, in Dedza, Malawi
populated place; a city, town, village, or other agglomeration of buildings where people live and work.
hill; a rounded elevation of limited extent rising above the surrounding land with local relief of less than 300m.
•Chitana Hill (17.3km)
•Kapesa Hill (21.5km)
•Kanyungu Hill (30.5km)
•Nankhanga Hill (37.2km)
stream; a body of running water moving to a lower level in a channel on land.
mountain; an elevation standing high above the surrounding area with small summit area, steep slopes and local relief of 300m or more.
•Mlunduni Hill (23.8km)
•Kalomo Hill (27km)
•Milonde Hill (33km)
•Namzezi Hill (33.8km)
first-order administrative division; a primary administrative division of a country, such as a state in the United States.
•Dedza District (0km)
Accommodation around Dedza District
Availability and bookings
forest reserve; a forested area set aside for preservation or controlled use.
•Mua Livulezi Forest Reserve (38.9km)
mission; a place characterized by dwellings, school, church, hospital and other facilities operated by a religious group for the purpose of providing charitable services and to propagate religion.
•Mayani Mission (30.4km)
estate(s); a large commercialized agricultural landholding with associated buildings and other facilities.
•Msitu wa Longwe Estate (9.4km)
Ulongwe in Mozambique: (156.8km)