19 February 2018

Malawi: HIV/Aids Clients Receive Art and TB Services Under Tree Sheds

Karonga — Kachila Youth Initiative (KAYI) has accused health officials at Mpata and Lupembe health centres in Karonga for providing clients anti-retroviral therapy drugs and Tuberculosis (TB) services under tree sheds and along corridors of the facilities.

KAYI Executive Director William Matchona Ngwira made the remarks Saturday after presenting an assessment report which the organization conducted in four health facilities in the district.

Ngwira said the assessment which was conducted at Kaporo, Lupembe, Mpata health centres and Karonga District Hospital revealed that the facilities provide anti-retroviral therapy(ART) drugs and Tuberculosis (TB) services in such open places.

"This is uncalled for because such a practice compromises and exposes people on ART and TBP patients to stigma and discrimination.

"The general observation in all the health facilities is that ART clinics are opened at around 9 O'clock in the morning and as such, clients have to wait for a long time to be served," said Ngwira.

He then urged the health officials at Mpata and Lupembe to create additional rooms for such services to maintain clients' privacy.

One of the ART clients who opted for anonymity and gets services at Mpata Health Centre condemned heath workers for conducting roll call when identifying clients.

Reacting to the report, Karonga District Medical Officer, Dr. Lindani Chirwa admitted some health facilities in the district have higher catchment populations than they are supposed to serve, hence the challenges.

"The population of Karonga has been increasing over the years and we are currently at 359,000. This is more than what the health facilities were meant to serve when they were constructed twenty years ago," Dr. Chirwa said.

He, however, said the District Health Office (DHO) is doing everything possible to address the situation to ensure improved ART and TB services' delivery in the district.


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