LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The Malawi Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) under the flagship of Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) and Forum for National Development (FDN) on Tuesday, January 2 cleared out fears surrounding the construction of Simsoil Service filling station closer to Bwaira hospital entrance in the capital Lilongwe.
The CSOs say there is no danger regarding to station’s construction to patients safety at the hospital unless fire caused by careless filling station users.
They cited Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Kamuzu Central Hospital, Capital Hill, MIM Deayang hospital, major hospitals in Kenya, Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania where filling stations were either built inside the health facilities or close to them.
The CSOs added further that their conclusion on the matter was derived from vigorous consultation with key stakeholders including energy experts, health experts, city assembly officials, energy ministry across the country.
On the ownership of the plot where the filling station is constructed, HRCC and FND said Bishop John Abraham Simama legally acquired the land in 2011 that extension of where filling station is located got the permission in May 2017.
“There are no known cases of personal injuries or related deaths or harm as a result of fumes, inhalation or exposure from products offered at similar service stations The only known danger has been fire caused by careless filling station users, but for Malawi to date there has no seriously reported fires at any of the over filling stations in the country,” reads the statement signed by Robert Mkwezalamba and Bright Kampaundi, HRCC and FND board chairpersons respectively.
They added, “HRCC and FND would like to indicate that there are numerous documentations support that the plot belongs to Simama and subsequent expanded plot and authorization for the current developments that have taken place.”
The clearance comes after National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives of Malawi (Nonm) in November last year accused government for allowing the construction of the filling station
The body is arguing that the energy pump pose threats to patients at the health facility.
The nurses therefore asked government to stop the construction of a filling station threatening it will take unspecified action if the construction continues.
Nonm president, Dorothy Ngoma, said her organisation is concerned about the safety of members of her union who work at the hospital.
Ngoma observed that ambulances are struggling to gain access to the hospital following several construction projects just after the gates of the hospital, a development which, she says, is uncalled for.
She added that the place belongs to Bwaila Hospital but the hospital and Lilongwe District Council have been tussling with people who are developing structures, one of which is the filling station.
The filling station owner, businessperson Abraham Simama, however insists that he acquired the land from Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development in 2011.
Simama assured the public of possessing the title deed that shows the land belongs to him not ministry of health.