Area 25 Health Centre Remain Closed, Workers Demand Security
Workers at area 25 Health Centre in Lilongwe have demanded adequate security at the health facility as a condition for them to return to work, following an attack by irate community members last week Monday.
The workers said this yesterday when President Chakwera visited the facility to appreciate the extent of damage.
One of the workers, Tifera Banda, gave an account of events of 6 February, when an angry mob descended on the facility accusing them of killing their friend, who authorities say died of cholera. The mob destroyed property at the health facility in a series of attacks which persisted till Tuesday.
According to Banda the workers are still getting threats from community members and feel unsafe to resume work.
“We have experienced violence before but not at this scale. The health workers were still working in their stations when we were ambushed by the mob which started throwing stones at us.
With only one security guard at the facility, we are not safe here. We need enough security for us to start working again,” said Banda.
Hospital In-charge Shareef Rajab said the health facility “suffered massive damage” such that it will take time to fix things before resuming work.
Said Rajab, “to go back to the level we were operating will take time as we need to repair some damaged equipment.”
He added that among others, the cervical cancer treatment unit at the facility was looted, with beds from different wards stolen.
President Chakwera condemned the “barbaric action” by community members.
He called on Malawians to refrain from vandalizing public property when misunderstandings arise.
“Those who destroyed the property are few ill-minded individuals but many are suffering due to that.
Actions such as these, are retrogressive to the country’s development. They cannot take us anywhere.”
The head of state therefore called for peace between health workers and community members for continued health services.
He directed that adequate security be provided and have the facility reopened.
Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda promised that security will be provided to the security soon.
Area 25 Health Centre has a catchment area of 580,000.