By Mphatso Nkuonera
Authorities at Ntchisi District Hospital have appealed for support from well-wishers to assist the facility with a modern digital X-ray machine so it can offer quality and timely services to patients.
Ntchisi Director of Health and Social Services, Zondwayo Ng’oma said currently, they have to refer patients who require the services of an x-ray machine to other health facilities, and that it is costly.
“Lack of the digital x-ray machine is a blow to this hospital because we send patients [that require x-ray services] to health facilitates outside the district with heavy costs attached on transportation and services rendered at the referral facility.
“We are losing huge sums of money on referral cases. Sending patients to other distant health facilities also delays results and the speed of medical prescription that negatively affect patients’ response to drug due to delayed medication,” Ng’oma said.
He said high vacancy rate alone has further hit the facility hard which has directly impacted on the speed of service delivery.
With a population of 317, 065, the district has a 12 health centres. There are 10 public health facilities and two CHAM facilities.
“Nurses have the highest vacancy rate at 86 per cent and the overall [vacancy rate] is at 65 per cent. This has put us at a very serious pressure of work as shifts which were supposed to be carried by three nurses are being done by one nurse,” he said.
“When we complain about staff, the usual response is that the ministry [of Health] will recruit. But when a nurse messes up due to fatigue, we are handled as if we had enough nurses and other health staff,” he said.
The District Hospital in- charge said the current working environment is cumbersome and pleaded with authorities to help.
“We wish this human resource gap was filled to normalise shifts and ease the burden mounted on the few health staff available, otherwise the current situation may not be good health wise,” he added.
Ng’oma, however, thanked Global Fund for the support that it has given to the district that includes medical assistance on TB, malaria, HIV and AIDS among others.
“We have doctors, pharmacists, solar system plant, microscopy machines for TB detection and various other forms of assistance, but we still have gaps where support is needed,” he added.
The DHSS said despite the current situation, Ntchisi District Hospital receives patients from parts of Nkhotakota and Dowa for having a good record for better treatment.
Ministry of Health Spokesperson, Joshua Malango said the ministry is aware of the situation at the health facility and that it is making efforts to address the problems.
“The ministry is working hard to have the situation reversed. A part from Ntchisi, we also appreciate similar hitches faced by other health facilities.
“However, we commend the staff for remaining dedicated in saving lives,” said Malango.-MANA