Malawi News Agency (Lilongwe)

30 March 2014

Malawi: Water Flooding Compromising Health Services Delivery At Nsanje, Mbenje Health Centre

Communities around the areas of Mbenje, Makoko and N'gabu risk losing their only health facility Mbenje Health centre to floods, if nothing is done to protect it from flood water from Nyankotola River, Malawi News Agency (Mana) has established.

Nsanje District Health Officer Dr Medson Matchaya admitted that the problem has been giving him headache as during rainy seasons floods hit the health facility which affects the delivery of health care.

"The situation is worrisome as operations at the facility are affected during rainy season as the floods do not only hit the health centre but also staff houses. Most of the medics that are deployed to the facility leave for other places for safety of their lives and property thus compromising the delivery of quality health care," said the concerned looking DHO.

Dr Matchaya acknowledged efforts some concerned communities around Mbenje health centre made some time back of constructing dyke along Nyankotola river.

He however said failure by stakeholders to carry out maintenance works on the dyke has seen it losing strength.

"Communities sometime back constructed a dyke to control the water from entering or flooding the facility but it has disappeared. It helped a lot to control floods from hitting the facility.

The Nsanje DHO disclosed most medics that are deployed to the facility leave for other places for safety of their lives and property thus compromising the delivery of quality health services.

"We have been finding problems as the health workers cannot accept to work in such environment fearing for their lives. This has contributed to poor service delivery," he said.

The DHO has since appealed to the District Council to reason with communities benefitting from the facility including Traditional leaders and Area Development Committee (ADC) members to see how best the problem can be addressed.

"It is very important for the communities and the District Council to take advantage of Constituency Development Fund (CDF) or Local Development Fund (LDF) to have a dyke constructed along the Nyankotola river," he appealed.

District Commissioner Harry Phiri said a decision on the problem would be made after consultations with relevant stakeholders.

"It is a collective responsibility to tackle the problem the health facility is facing. Therefore, as a Council, we are to meet all the stakeholders to map the way forward," Phiri said.

Meanwhile, Mbenje health centre which serves about 23,000 people has only four medical practitioners, of which two are nurses while the other two Medical Assistants.

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