LILONGWE--In the wake of a controversial move that saw hospital beds moved from Mponela Hospital to the constituency of Vice Pres Khumbo Kachali ahead of what promises to be hotly contested bye-election in Mzimba, government announced Thursday that the beds will be retuned to Mponela Hospital in Dowa.
"The Ministry of Health wishes to advise the general public that the 13 beds from Dowa will be returned by the weekend beginning of 21st September, 2012," Principal Secretary Dr. Charles Mwansambo said in a statement.
He rationalised the decision to move the hospitals to Mzimba, saying the government was "engaged in rationalization of resources in the Health sector that they should benefit all Malawians.
"This is the same in the case of Mponela Rural Hospital where 13 beds without mattresses were redeployed to other health facilities in Mzimba District."
Mwansambo said the rationalization process had benefitted a number of hospitals in the country:
*In 2011, Dowa District Hospital had no washing machine and an autoclave and the Ministry sourced them from Phalombe District Health Office.
*In the same year, Chintheche and Monkey Bay Rural Hospitals had a shortfall of beds and these were sourced from other Health facilities that had surplus.
*In February 2012, Chisoka and Malikula Health Centres in Thyolo and Mangochi respectively failed to open due to lack of equipment. The Ministry sourced them from Nkhotakota, Salima and Mchinji Districts Health Offices for the centre’s to open.
The Principal Secretary said "the request to redeploy some beds from the [Mponela] hospital to where they were needed was a temporary measure as they had surplus beds without mattresses, and the agreement was that they will be replaced.
"Further upon visiting the Hospital and inspecting the facilities on the afternoon of Thursday 20th September 2012, the Honourable Minister of Health, the Right Honourable Khumbo Kachali noted with concern that despite having beds, most of the beds have no mattresses.
"The Ministry of Health will therefore not only replace the beds, but provide mattresses to all beds at Mponela Rural Hospital including those in the male, female and Children’s wards," said Mwansambo.
Matters came to a head when women legislators demanded that the beds be return to Mponela Hospital.
(c) The Maravi Post 2012. Reproduction without acknowledgement prohibited.