LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Concerneɗ communities from some parts of the Northern District of Karonga this week petitioned Government through Ƙaronga District commissioner on the controversy surrounding a multi-million Kwacha abandoned health centre project.
The concerned communities led by Traditional Authority (T.A) Kyungu are demanding answers for the MK109 Million Mpata Health Centre Project.
The petition, signed by Group Village Headman (GVH) Hackson Kalambo, Councillor for Chilanga ward, Patrick Kisyombe, Area Development Committee Chairman (ADC) Smith Kalambo and Health Advisory Committee (HAC) Chairman Joseph Mwasongwe was delivered on Friday to the Principle Secretary for Health, Dr Dan Namarika.
The petitioners also sent copies going to the Anti-Corruption Bureau, (ACB) the Parliamentary Committee (PAC) on health, Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), Karonga District Council and Member of Parliament for Karonga North West among others.
The petition stated that Mpata Health Centre since its establishment has been operating with only one structure which is used as an Out-Patient Department (OPD), a maternity wing, dispensary and admission wing against an average population of 22, 000 families.
This situation has presented significant operational challenges that have impinged on access to quality health more especially maternal health, says the petition.
Consequently, in 2011 community members around the health centre through the ADC, submitted a proposal to the district council for the construction of an OPD and a maternity waiting-shelter
“Women are forced to deliver in the presence of other women and men . As a result most women opt to deliver in their homes in pursuit of privacy and dignity. This is against the Ministry of Health Policy that advocates for safe motherhood.”
.“In 2012 officials from the Ministry of Health in the company of Karonga DHO visited the community to announce the commencement of the construction project,” says the petition.
Subsequently, a contractor, Ziwuya Moyo, came in the area with construction materials and ground labourers.
It is further claimed in the petition that the community were not involved in the work as per practice with other community development projects. Everything was being handled by the contractor and his workers.
“Unlike other Government-funded construction projects, there was no billboard mounted to provide information regarding the name of the project, name of the contractor, project amount, duration and source oɗ funding,” further reads the petition.
The communities allege that after the construction work commenced, the contractor abandoned the project barely a month into it. The OPD structure was at foundation level, and nothing had been done on the waiting shelter.
Ministry of Health (MoH) Principal Secretary Dan Namarika said it was encouraging that some communities are taking interest in following up on the progress of projects, which are meant to serve them.
Namarika has since given the petitioners the Government’s assurance that they will follow up the matter and that a necessary action will be taken in due course.
“We know, as Government, we have a responsibility to provide universal health care. We need also the full support of the communities to achieve our goals in ensuring that we deliver a quality and effective health delivery system,” said Namarika.