By Jordan Simeon-Phiri, MEC Stringer
Chiefs in Karonga Central Constituency have offered a building to house Mlare Health Centre so that it can continue to offer much-needed services after its facility was closed in December due to poor sanitation.
The consensus to have the facility reopened was reached at a meeting Mlare Health Centre management committee (MHCM) members held with traditional leaders, council officials, Karonga District Health Officer (DHO) and Member of Parliament for the area, Frank Mwenifumbo on Saturday afternoon.
The meeting followed a series of invitation letters that MHCM chairperson Vyanangika Mkwala had been sending to the two offices requesting to find a long lasting solution for the leaking and bats-infested health centre, which stopped its services on December 20 last year.
Speaking after a tour of the stinking and closed health centre, Senior Group Village Headman Mwakawanga said all traditional leaders and MHCM members were greatly concerned with the closure as community members have to endure long distances to access health care.
“As leaders, we have agreed to offer Mlare Craft Centre building to temporarily be used as health facility so as to ease the situation while we are waiting for maintenance and rehabilitation works at the health centre,” Mwakawanga said.
Speaking on behalf of the District Commissioner Richard Hara, acting director of planning and development Isaac Mkandawire said his office is concerned with the closure of the facility as people are struggling to cover long distances to seek medical attention elsewhere.
He, however assured chiefs and MHCM members that the Council is working around the clock by mobilising resources so as to rehabilitate the buildings.
“The project requires over K8 million and right now we are to consult with our Councillors to see where we can draw that money from. We are aware that the community has already done its 25 percent contribution of the building material, hence we will expedite the process,” Mkandawire said.
Mwenifumbo, the Member of Parliament for the Area hailed the meeting, as fruitful, saying the decision reached was of great benefit to his constituents, more especially women who he said are always affected when people fall ill.
“I am glad that a building has been identified for temporary shelter. Health service delivery is not supposed to be compromised because they are issues that deal with peoples lives,” Mwenifumbo said.
The closure affected about 18,500 people from 10 villages.