By Jordan Simeon-Phiri, MEC Stringer
Kilupula area development committee (ADC) chairperson Nelson Mwakisulu has expressed his disappointment over failure by the three newly-elected Members of Parliament for Karonga to turn up for an engagement meeting on extractives and health governance that Justice and Peace (JP) of Karonga Diocese jointly called with Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) on Wednesday.
The absent MPs were two for DPP — Mungasulwa Mwambande (Karonga North), James Kamwambi (Karonga North West) and MCP’s Dr. Cornelius Mwalwanda (Karonga Central constituency).
Speaking before the commencement of the one-day meeting at Manguzi Lodge, Mwakisulu said what the invited MPs did was a disrespect of the highest order, saying such leaders were not supposed to be voted into power as they do not have the welfare of people at heart.
“Before we begin our meeting, let me express my disappointment over what our legislators have done,” Mwakisulu said. “By not coming to this meeting to hear our concerns and grievances clearly shows that they don’t care about us.”
Apparently, the joint meeting was aimed at bringing together community leaders with their elected leaders to discuss health related and extractive issues so that when Parliament resumes on they should take them to the august House.
On his part, Mwenilondo Health Centre management committee chairperson, James Ngwira told the five ward councillors that showed up for the meeting that health service delivery at Karonga DHO is on a sick bed owing to the fact that most health centres in the district are rocked with myriad problems ranging from shortage of medical personnel, drugs and medical supplies and equipment to infrastructure.
“We want you to know that roads from our health centres such as Katili, Lupembe, Kasoba, Mpata to the referral district hospital are in bad shape. Making it difficult for emergency ailments to make it to Karonga DHO in time.
”And again, almost all health centres do not have running water, maternity wings and waiting shelters for expectant mothers, shattering dreams of promoting safe motherhood in Karonga,” Ngwira said.
CHRR project officer Modester Ramunde said as an organization implementing the health governance project in the district, though impressed with the progress and outcome of the meeting, they were let down by the MPs’ absence.
Ramunde, however, said she was optimistic that the ward councillors that came will address issues raised since the system is decentralized, saying at district level they can initiate equitable health service delivery to all community members if the health facilities are supplied with drugs, equipment and staff houses.
CHRR, with funding from Oxfam, is implementing a health governance project up to 2020.