Govt suspends collection, delivery of dead bodies using ambulances

Kasungu District Hospital

As a way of cutting costs amid rising in cost of living, the Malawi Government has suspended some services in the health sector and from now public ambulances are not allowed to collect and deliver dead bodies.

This is according to a letter from the ministry of health being addressed to all District Health Management Leaderships, dated July 12, 2022, stipulating the dos and don’ts amid what it has described as substantive increase in cost of supplies.

The document seen by this publication says the decision to suspend some services in all public health facilities came in to pose as a possible measure to cushion against price increase in some essential supplies.

The document reveals that the health sector has been heavily affected by the adjustments of most commodities including fuel, claiming the increments are coming at a time when the financial year was already in session.

“For example, during 2022/2023 budget preparations, fuel pump price was at around 900 Malawi Kwacha per liter, now the price has doubled. While we wait for possible budget adjustment during the midyear budget review, there is a need to urgently make some temporary changes in the district operations,” reads part of the document.

The ministry of health through the document says from now district hospitals should have only one ambulance operating and three ambulances for health centers and says all other ambulances and vehicles should be parked.

The ministry has further banned picking and dropping of health workers on night shift to and from the hospital and instead they have been ordered to be sleeping within the facility and further more patients will be eating once in a day.

“Collection and delivery of dead bodies. In adherence to infection prevention measure, ambulances are not allowed to carry dead bodies. All ambulances should operate from the District Health Offices.

“Patient food. Hospitals should minimize food ration to 1 meal a day. Meals for staff on duty. Districts should suspend provision of meals to staff on duty,” reads another part of the document.

The ministry of health has also ordered district hospitals to suspended use of generators bigger than 15KVA and instead they are told to use smaller generators and also in key strategic sections of the hospital.

According to the document, all these are temporary measures and says the boundaries will be lifted up after the situation normalizes.

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