Patients on ART Stranded in Dowa
Bowe Health centre in Dowa is temporarily closed.
Zodiak's visit to the health facility on Wednesday found patients on Antiretroviral therapy stranded as health workers have stopped provision of all services following violent demonstrations against a nursing officer, Clifford Semu, who was accused of negligence.
The patients say their lives are at risk as they only have a pill of ARV to last only for a day.
"We are remaining with a pill of ARV and when we come here we are told to go elsewhere to get ARVs because the health workers have stopped working but when we go to the nearest health facilities we are sent back," one of the patients said.
Village Headman Malayina of Bowe Trading Centre told Zodiak Online Wednesday that his subjects have been ordered to contribute K1, 500 each towards renovation of the house they damaged during last week's protest.
Nevertheless, he said, his subjects are failing to contribute, citing financial hiccups.
Meanwhile, Dowa District Hospital Spokesperson, Davie Nuka, said, “"Only when the Bowe community members renovate the house they damaged during protests and assure us of security of health workers, services will resume.”
Nuka insists that patients on ART should still go to their nearest health facilities to access ARVs because they have a right to go to any public health facility.
Universal Health Coverage Coalition Vice Chairperson, Christopher Bauti, has pleaded with the Dowa district health office to urgently intervene by either opening the health facility or find an alternative solution for patients on ART.
He said leaving patients on ART without ARVs until the health facility opens is tantamount to killing them.
More than 30 Gule wamkulu and about 300 protesters invaded the nursing officer's house last week during demonstrations in an attempt to deal with him for allegedly ignoring an expectant woman who later died at Ntchisi District hospital.