Newborns babies at Magwero Health Facility in Chipata District are being forced to share one admission ward with adult patients of various ailments due to inadequate infrastructure.
A News Diggers visit at the health centre found the ward empty, not because there were no patients admitted to the hospital, but because the occupants were waiting outside and elsewhere, while the bed linen was taken out for washing before it could reused in the night.
Some clinic staff who were not authorised to speak on record, explained that the clinic only has one ward where all patients of various age groups are admitted, including newborn babies on postnatal care.
“As you have already seen when a patient is admitted we have to wash and wait for the bed covers to dry up before they can be used again,” the worker said pointing to empty beds.
The health centre only has one admission ward and that ward only has a four beds, with the labour ward just adjacent in a room which previously served as a male ward.
“This room we are in is what we call the female ward, and the one we are currently using as the Labour ward was previously used as a male ward. This means we no longer have a male ward, and because we do not have a maternity ward and mothers shelter we keep all patients mixed in one ward together with newborn babies.”
When confronted with the situation, Chipata District Medical Director, Dr Charles Fanaka, said his office had no short term plans of working on the facility for now.
Dr. Fanaka notes that he is aware of some rural health posts facing similar challenges and has attracted the interest of well-wishers, who are willing to work on them, but for Magwero no one has come on board.
But Chipata Central Member of parliament Mosses Mawere, who is also Minister of Youths, Sports and Child Development, admitted that the situation at the health facility was serious and posed a critical health risk to patients
He promised to assist the community with cement so that Magwero Health Centre can construct a maternity ward and a mother’s shelter.
Mawere, however, challenged the members of the community to contribute by moulding bricks for the construction project.
“I would like to thank members of the community because it would have taken time for them to wait for government to look for a contractor and funds to start building infrastructure, so with this initiative, I have promised them and I will work towards achieving that,” said Mawere.