Malawi Congress Party (MCP) law maker for Dedza East Juliana Lunguzi has said it was high time the Malawi Rural Electrification Program (MAREP) extended to all health facilities in the country.
Lunguzi said this would increase the use of modern gadgets for diagnosis and treatment in rural areas, leading to better service delivery.
Lunguzi, who is also the Chairperson for Parliamentary Committee on Health, made the remarks on Thursday when she moved a motion seeking the House’s approval that for the next coming three years (2016-2019), MAREP be extended to all rural health facilities.
“Bearing in mind that some Health Personnel refuse to work in rural areas due to lack of electricity, this house resolves that allocation of the Malawi Rural Electrification Program (MAREP) must extend to all Health facilities in the country – North, South, Centre, East and West.
“Lack of electricity is negatively impacting service delivery in rural health centres, hence contributing to increased morbidity and mortality cases. Lack of electricity makes postings to rural areas unattractive for Health Personnel. For example, one Health Officer reported that her centre serves 300 patients on average per day and that at least eight nurses would be ideal. But because of lack of electricity, the Centre only has two nurses,” told the House Lunguzi.
She said this forces patients to seek medical care from private hospitals further from their homes, adding an extra financial burden to the people in the rural areas whose financial status is already very low.
Lunguzi further observed that unavailability of electricity limits the use of advanced technology for screening diagnostic tests like microscopy, XRAYs and some simple laboratory services.
“In this age of Telemedicine, lack of electricity limits interaction between specialists and health centre staff in cases that can be easily managed. Mr Speaker Sir, you will all agree with me that sick people cannot develop Malawi. Hence we should invest in health by targeting rural health facilities for the wellbeing of our fellow citizens,” she emphasized.
She stated that electrification of rural health centres will help address the problem of newly recruited health workers migrating from rural health centres and facilitate use of modern medical equipment in those health facilities.
“Just imagine the positive impact that all the rural health centres from all our constituencies with electricity in the next three months will have! In the least, we are going to have healthy people ready and poised to drive development. Even schools will benefit from the electrification programme,” said Lunguzi before she begged to move the motion.