11 December 2017
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Friday, 03 November 2017 16:08

Patients bemoan OPD services at Balaka Health Centre

Written by  Mary Makhiringa
Health Minister Atupele Muluzi visiting patients - File Photo Health Minister Atupele Muluzi visiting patients - File Photo

Balaka, November 3, 2017: Patients at the Out-Patient Department (OPD) at Balaka Health                   Centre have expressed their concern over operations at the facility; saying only one consultation room is being used to cater for numerous patients. 

A visit to the health centre by Malawi News Agency (MANA) verified the situation where there were two lines of patients; one for male patients and another for females. Both lines queued towards one consultation room.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, some patients at the health facility said the current situation is not ideal and deprives them of their privacy. They said there was need for management to look into the matter with urgency.

“This is not a healthy situation as you are aware that no one wants to let others know of what he or she is suffering from, except the doctor. This is more so when it comes to sexually transmitted infections,” said one of the patients.

The patients further said they rely on the hospital because going straight to the District Hospital requires one to have a referral letter because without it one is told to go back.

Commenting on the matter, Balaka District Health Officer (DHO), Dr. Eugene Katenga-Kaunda, admitted to be in the know of the problem but insisted that the current practice was the best the hospital could follow at present.

“I am very aware of the problem at hand at Balaka OPD, there is no space and the hospital can do nothing about that, hence resorted that all older patients be assisted in one room and children outside,” said the DHO.

He said either the district council should construct more consultation rooms or other patients should be sent back home to come another day.

According to Katenga Kaunda, there are some unfinished structures which were left by Valley Railway Construction about three years ago and there is nothing being said about the project to date.

On his part, District Commissioner (DC) for Balaka, Rodrick Mateuma, described the situation as pathetic but was quick to point out that it was the first time for him to hear about the situation at Balaka Health Centre OPD.

"The problem that we are facing as a district in terms of health activities is because we do not have a district hospital. What we call today a district hospital was a hospital for leprosy which was belt by the Montfort Fathers of the Catholic Church," said Mateauma.

Efforts to talk to Valley Railway Construction Company proved futile as their phones went unanswered.

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