A visit to the hospital on Friday revealed that, out of 50 beds in the Martenity Ward, only nine had mosquito nets. As if that were not enough, the ward is also congested to the effect that 20 more women sleep on the floor, and without the life-protecting mosquito nets.
In face of the problem, hospital officials have deviced a way of beating mosquitoes: using insecticides to kill mosquitoes.
Observers have questioned this intervention, saying it is not sustainable due to its high cost nature.
Officials at the hospital acknowledged that the institution was facing problems sourcing mosquito nets.
However, they also accused patients of vandalising and sltealing hospital property, including mosquito nets.
One senior official said 40 mosquito nets have either gone missing, or been stolen by expectant mothers over the past eight months, forcing hospital officials to shelve plans to call for new mosquito net supplies from the central government.
Dedza District (in red): Facing Many Health ChallengesDedza 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.