Malawi government to construct district Hospital in Blantyre

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By Jayne Kaonga

Congestion of patients at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre is set to ease following the government’s plans to finally construct a district hospital.

Although land for the facility was secured at Kameza close to two decades ago, nothing much; except the erection of the now-vandalised brick-wall fence, has been done on site.

 

In 2002, the then Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, visited Malawi and pledged to fund construction of a 300-bed district hospital in Blantyre.

As a sign of its appreciation and commitment, the former president Bakili Muluzi’s government quickly identified and allocated vast land at Kameza for the project.

Muluzi’s regime went even further to construct a brick fence and an access gate complete with a guardroom at the site but the project never really materialised until Muluzi left office in 2004.

 

Partly, the Gaddafi deal fell through due to strained ties between Malawi and Libya when late President Bingu wa Mutharika’s administration took over from Muluzi.

Today, 18 years after the pledge and 16 years after Muluzi, the earmarked spot for the district hospital is all bushy and surrounding communities have taken advantage to grow maize and other crops on the land.

The structures that were put up on the site have long been vandalised rendering the abandoned place not only a ruins but also a haven for criminal elements.

 

The irony in all this is that despite its status as one of the country’s earliest urban settlements coupled by its ever-growing population, Blantyre district remains in the league of a few districts without their own hospital.

This means that if they are not competing with patients from surrounding districts at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre residents have to rely on a handful of health centres for their clinical needs.

The result of all this is long queues at the out-patients section as well as congestion in the wards at the referral facility.

Concerned by the situation, the government is now seemingly determined to construct the long-awaited Blantyre district hospital and has since called for expert interests to conduct a feasibility study.

 

According to the Ministry of Health’s Internal Procurement and Disposal of Assets Committee, the study will assess in detail the social, economic and environmental viability of constructing such a facility in Blantyre.

The news that the government has now awoken from its slumber and is considering to construct the district hospital in Blantyre has stirred up many residents including this one who could not hide his excitement.

 

 

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