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Picture of We want an ambulance in Nthalire. Photo by Bishop Witmos
Nthalire Community Calls For an Ambulance

By Bishop Witmos (Contributor)

Inadequate ambulances at Chitipa District Hospital is said to have slowed down access to health service by communities in the remotest area of Nthalire in Chitipa South.

This was said during an interface meeting in Nthalire between the community members and officials from Chitipa District Hospital, which was organized by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) under the Diocese of Karonga.

Picture of We want an ambulance in Nthalire. Photo by Bishop Witmos
We want an ambulance in Nthalire. Photo by Bishop Witmos

Currently, Chitipa District Hospital has only one ambulance that serves a population of over two hundred thousand people.

Speaking during the meeting, Councilor for Nthalire ward Christopher Mnyenyembe appealed to government and stakeholders to consider providing an ambulance at Nthalire Health Center in order to save lives that are lost at the health facility due to inadequate transport for referral services to the main district hospital.

Mnyenyembe said despite that Nthalire is located in the far-flung area of 115 Kilometers away from Chitipa boma, it is surprising to note that his area is not a priority in terms of referral services by the district hospital.

‘‘As communities in Nthalire we are really suffering due to unavailability of an ambulance at our health facility, and it reached to a point, in the year 2017, that an ambulance was available at our facility only for maternity cases,’’ said Mnyenyembe.

However, Chitipa District Hospital has since asked communities in Nthalire not to panic as procedures are already in place that by the end of May this year the area will have its own ambulance.

Representative of Director for Health Services in Chitipa at the event who is also Senior Assistant Environmental Health Officer Mordecai Mbowe told the gathering that Plan Malawi through the Inpath project is procuring four ambulances for the district.

At Wenya, communities were surprised with the 2017 to 2018 financial report presented by the hospital officials, that only half of the 2017 to 2018 financial year, the district hospital has already spent over 90 percent of its internal travel costs; a development which Mbowe said was due to an increased number of referrals to Mzuzu Central Hospital.

While at Mwenemisuku, chairperson for Kakomo Area Development Committee (ADC) Winston Silungwe observed that the financial report was only showing the budget costs as well as expenditures for the whole district hospital without specifying breakdowns for health centres.

Silungwe therefore asked the district hospital to consider itemizing the budget in order for communities to be able to track it.

According to the project officer for the commission in Chitipa Abel Malumbira, the interface meetings were organized with an aim to bridge the interaction gap between the community and health workers.

Malumbira therefore assured communities in Chitipa that the commission will continue providing support for such interactions in order to improve the health service delivery in the district.

CCJP is implementing a health governance project in selected ADCs in Chitipa and Karonga with an aim of promoting transparency and accountability in health service delivery. The project is funded by Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA).

Picture of Nthalire women stand up for their rights
Justice and Peace Desk Empowers Women to Defend Their Rights

By Violet Maluwa- Tfm reporter

As one way of taking an active role in defending their rights, women from Nthalire invited traditional and community leaders to an interface meeting to demand their right of access to development assets.

This comes against the background that although government and other stakeholders are committed to empower women in various sectors, oppression of women in developmental activities continues.

During the interface meeting, women presented a petition to leaders outlining their grievances for the traditional and community leaders to address. Some of these problems include limited access to land, negative cultural beliefs which put women secondary to men and being denied freedom to engage in economic activities such as businesses.

Picture of Nthalire women stand up for their rights
Nthalire women stand up for their rights

Speaking in an interview, one of the women who presented the letter, Emily Ng’ambi said some traditional leaders take part in oppressing women in various ways.

“We thought of calling for these discussions because we know that chiefs ought to defend us each time we are subjected to such oppression. Unfortunately they seem not to mind. We are being oppressed every day and traditional leaders do not hear our cry,” lamented Emily Ng’ambi.

She added that with they are optimistic that what they have presented has awakened their traditional leaders from their slumber and that they will act on their concerns.

Meanwhile Senior Group Village Headman Chimatulo has committed himself to ensure that women are given freedom to participate in all spheres of life. He has since urged other traditional leaders to make sure that women are treated with dignity that befits every human being.

Similar meetings targeting various leaders have been held in Chisenga, Wenya, and Thumbo. Justice and Peace Desk through the Community Managed Women’s Rights Advocacy Project is empowering women to demand. The project is supported by Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD).

Traditional Leader Urges Girls to Have a Clear Vision to Excel in Education

By Vincent Bwinga

Senior Group Village Headman Jodi has urged the students, especially girls, to have a clear vision of the future they want and be focused in their education to achieve it.

He said this at Therere CDSS in Nthalire during a role modeling event organized by the Justice and Peace Desk of Karonga Diocese. Addressing students, SGVH Jodi said many girls go to school without any dream for the future. Education, for them, means nothing more than pastime; as such they easily fall into the trap of early marriages.

“Girls don’t make yourself cheap, tell your boys that no education, no Love. Everything else should wait, your education first.” The traditional leader said. He urged girls to report to any traditional leader if anyone tries to disturb their education.

During the same event, a female role model, Lumbani Kawonga, encouraged girls to work hard in school to achieve their dreams.

Lumbani Kawonga, a 22 year old primary school teacher shared her life experience highlighting the difficulties she overcame to be what she were. She expressed that most of her contemporaries at the school fell prey to early marriages and dropped out of school.

Lumbani Kawonga is the pride of Therere CDSS since she did her Junior Secondary education at the same school.

Reacting to Lumbani Kawonga’s story, Juliana Sibale said it was rare and strange to find educated girls in the area. The 17 year old girl said many girls in their area face challenges and many resign to them. She advised her fellow students to refrain from behaviors that might ruin their.

Lack of role models in Nthalire and many areas in Chitipa District demotivates many girls from going further with education. The role modeling activity is a deliberate attempt by the Justice and Peace Desk to promote girl child education.

The activity brought together students, teachers, chiefs, parents and Women Rights Group members from Nthalire zone. This is one of the activities under Community Managed Women and Girls Rights Advocacy Project (CMWRA) funded by CAFOD.