By Obert Mkandawire*
To strengthen citizen participation
in health decision making processes at local level, the Justice and Peace Desk
of the Diocese of Karonga facilitated the dissemination of 2018/19 Chitipa
District health sector expenditure report to communities in the areas of
traditional authorities Mwenemisuku, Mwenewenya and Nthalire from 16 to 18
During the meetings, community
members interfaced with district council and health management team officials
responsible for planning and administration namely, Director of Planning and
Development (DPD), Tamanya Harawa; DIP Coordinator, Willy Kanyika and Chitipa
District Health Services Administrator, Victor Chithabwa.
During the meetings, the DPD
outlined various funds that the council receives while Willy Kanyika and Victor
Chithabwa from Chitipa District Health Office explained the expenditure to the
In Misuku, community members complained
that the health facility has taken long without being maintained; with the
Labour Ward being the worst affected. The Health Service Administrator assured
the gathering that the Labour Ward will be renovated soon.
In Nthalire, community members raised
concerns on the delays in elevating Nthalire Health Centre to Rural Hospital.
They claimed the elevation of the health facility will ensure that critical
surgical operations are done as quickly as possible without referring them to
Chitipa which is about 125 kilometres away.
In his response, the DPD stated
that the council intends to place some officers at Nthalire, who would mirror
the main officers at Chitipa District Hospital to ensure effective delivery of
public health services.
Taking their turn, the members of
the District Health Management Team present revealed that Press Trust has
already assessed capacity of Nthalire Health Centre and will construct extra
buildings to ensure expansion of the facility.
The three communities were
unanimous in asking government to address the issue of drug stock out, which is
being worsened by Tanzanians and Zambians who seek medical attention in their
facilities. The Administrator urged the community to report to him any cases of
abuse of the ambulance and cases of drug pilferage after a concern from Wenya
The DPD revealed that Misuku and
Nthalire have not been included in the current Constituency Water
Infrastructure Fund respectively even after some processes had been initiated
already including choosing of committees and sending of plans to the council. The
community also lamented lack of consultation by their Members of Parliament on
Water Infrastructure Projects.
The community appreciated the role
Justice and Peace Desk has played in bringing duty bearers to interface with
This is an initiative under the, “Promotion of high quality, accountable and
responsive public health service” project being implemented by the Justice
and Peace Desk of the Diocese of Karonga with financial support from Open
Society Initiative of Southern Africa (OSISA).
*The author is Project Officer for
Osisa Health Governance Project