BLANTYRE--A committee of women MPs in Malawi's parliament on Tuesday issued a 24-hour ultimatum to Ministry of Health authorities to bring back children's hospital beds taken away from Mponela hospital and sent to Mzimba clinics in areas where there is a by-election.
"If the Ministry does not bring back the beds, we will issue a petition," Cecilia Chazama, who heads the women's committee, told a presser.
The ministry, allegedly under instructions from its minister Khumbo Kachale, who is also the country's vice president, is said to be behind the scheme although he didn’t carry out the task himself.
The beds were taken out of the Mponela hospital at night, in some cases taking out children from the beds and dumping them on the floor, it has been established.
"It's sad and unfortunate that this happened. As women, we are touched by the plight of these children and their health," Chazama added.
She was speaking after her committee and deputy health minister and several authorities visited the Mponela hospital to ascertain of the incident, which is likely to embarass the government of Pres Joyce Banda who herself is the ambassador for safe motherhood.
Chazama said her committee couldn’t have minded if the beds were sent within other facilities in Dowa, but to be sent to another district because of campaign purposes was "sad and unfortunate," she said.
There will be two by-elections in Mzimba next month and the vice president comes from one of the constituencies where one of the by-elections will be held.
She said their mission was ascertain of the incident and "we have found out that it is true...but where have the beds gone to?"she asked.
© The Maravi Post 2012. Reproduction without acknowledgement prohibited