Utility debts amounting to over K60 Million have crippled operations at Chikwawa District Hospital which was built around 1940s and serves 600 thousand people.
The District’s Director of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Dr Stalin Nzikanda told Deputy Minister of Health Chrissy Kalamula Kanyasho when she visited the hospital this week that the hospital owes ESCOM K40 Million and Southern Region Water Board K20 Million in unpaid utility bills.
Nzikanda said the situation has affected daily operations at the hospital as it is not able to meet running costs such as procurement of fuel for its ambulances thereby affecting health service delivery at the hospital.
Kanyasho (2nd from Right) during the visit
Nzikanda therefore requested government to consider bailing out the hospital of its utility bills.
“As a district hospital we are really facing some challenges which we thought we could bring to the attention of the Deputy Minister. Particularly we have requested the Deputy Minister to consider bailing the hospital out of its utility debts.
“You can imagine the hospital is still using its old dilapidated small mortuary, we really need government assistance,” said Nzikanda.
He added that the district hospital having been constructed some 80 years ago, is too old with most of its infrastructure being dilapidated. He called upon government to consider building a new hospital for the district.
On her part, the Deputy Minister of Health said most hospitals in the country are struggling to pay utility bills. The Minister called upon District Health offices across the country to consider finding alternative sources of energy such as solar as well as other alternative sources of water such as boreholes.
Chikwawa District Hospital was built around 1940s and it now service a population of 600 thousand people.