Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) under the Karonga Diocese has called upon Government to strongly consider constructing an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Karonga District Hospital.
The faith-based organization’s call for an ICU facility come amid the on-going battle to contain the Coronavirus pandemic, with Malawi recording 23 cases and three deaths.
Speaking at a press briefing that CCJP organized as part of their Health Governance Project Obert Mkandawire project Coordinator, said the provision of the ICU is in line with the Health Sector Strategic Plan II strategic objective 3 which seeks to improve the availability and quality of health infrastructure and medical equipment.
He noted that due to a lack of an ICU, the district refers cases to Mzuzu which is not cost affective as the fuel allocation for such services is never adequate.
“Apart from the ICU, the district hospital does not also have a nursery unit which is critical to handling malnourished children and this is problematic as children with such needs are being combined with other cases which is not proper therefore these are a violation of health rights,” remarked Mkandawire.
However, reacting to the concerns over a lack of an ICU facility at the district hospital, Director of Health and Social Services for Karonga David Sibale, while admitting of the challenge, was quick to say that an ICU unit will soon be established as they have been assured funds for the facility in the upcoming 2020/2021 financial year.
He added that a room has already been identified within the hospital which awaits equipment to turn into a suitable intensive care unit.
“We indeed incur a lot of costs when we have to refer our critically ill patients to Mzuzu but we hope through upgrading one of the facility’s room into an ICU these issues of referring our patients will be a thing of the past thus easing the burden of the people who come and seek treatment,” he explained.
With financial assistance from the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) to the tune of $200,000, CCJP since 2018 has been implementing a health governance project titled Promotion of High Quality, Accountable and Responsive Public Health Services in Karonga and Chitipa Districts respectively.