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Makhanga Health Centre Continued Closure Irks Communities

Nsanje District Health Office has come under fire, for delay to resume provision of health care at Makhanga Health Centre, close to a month after the facility was submerged in floods due tropical storm ANA, a situation which forced the authorities to temporarily suspend operations.

The delay to resume provision of services at the facility has irked surrounding communities.

 Some have questioned the idea of moving the facility's medics to Osiyana Health Centre, about 10 kilometers from the area, yet members of the community, mobilized themselves to clean up the facility.

"We are worried because the floods dried up the following day, about 30,000 people are being denied access to essential health care including ART, treatment for various ailments including malaria, besides, women are delivering in unsafe environment," lamented Lingston Mandowa, from Sambani village in the area of Traditional Authority Mlolo in the district.

He recalled, "in 2015, the situation was different. We had a team of medics from Medicins Sans Frontiers, (MSF) but also nurses who were deployed to serve people here, why moving medics to another health facility when we have thousands of people who are in dire need of health care?"  

Rose Mbendera 45, from Mwanabvumbe village in the area echoed the concern.

"I am pregnant and I am worried because my fellow women have been delivering without the help of skilled health workers, it's a risk, some are being forced to cross the borders to Mozambique for medical care," complained Rose, who claims to have been struggling to access to antenatal services as a result.

The district's Acting Director of Health and Social Services, Dr. Gilbert Chapweteka, has acknowledged that the facility remains closed.

"I am aware that the facility was submerged in water and that the community tried to clear it and it has dried up. Much of our equipment was damaged which we cannot replace as soon as possible, so services that do not require laboratory and all that will resume as soon as possible, like supply of ART, at the moment we are using Osiyana, besides, we also have outreach clinics where people can access some services."

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