Problems dogging our public health facilities including Kamuzu Central Hospital, which are certainly barriers to the citizens' access to quality health services, should attract the attention of everyone in both the government and the civil society.
The shortage of beds at Kamuzu Central Hospital, for instance, requires immediate intervention. Reports that there are no hospital beds for newly admitted patients in some wards are distressing. As a major referral hospital, the public expectation is that the government will constantly prioritise its needs. The current situation where some patients are spending cold nights on the floor and in corridors of the wards is surely a sad development, which shows that government's priorities are upside down.
It cannot be denied that serious shortage of personnel, equipment like beds and drugs has serious consequences on the provision of health services in our country. From the recent stories that have been published on KCH, one can easily deduce that new arrivals are facing the long wait times for assessment because there is just no space to properly examine them.
Instead of spending taxpayers' money on useless expenditures such as some unproductive domestic and foreign trips, authorities should have their priorities right. Authorities should be concerned about the welfare of the citizens and provision of good health services should be a priority.
Government needs to immediately intervene in the crisis that has engulfed the health sector. Malawians have a right to good health. With the challenges prevailing in our various health facilities, one wonders whether government is able to provide minimum health care for all.
The accounts of events at KCH, which range from issues of drug shortages, drug pilferage to lack of beds are indicators that the healthcare system is in a crisis. The crisis is actually the source of anger and frustration amongst patients, medical workers and many stakeholders.
What is saddening is that the challenge of bed shortages has not only affected adults but also children. The overcrowding of children's wards mocks the notion that good health starts from the very infancy where protection and care is needed amongst the young ones.
Courtesy of the state of affairs in our public hospitals, we cannot even talk about good health being real wealth. It is very doubtful if good health can be achieved with the environment haunting our hospitals.
Who can dispute that a number of patients die unnecessarily because our public hospitals are over-burdened, under-staffed and poorly equipped and managed?
Let the health sector be given the priority it deserves