Mzuzu — Ministry of Health through Mzimba District HealthOffice (North) has taken over control of satellite clinics in the area to reduce increasing pressure on Mzuzu Health Centre and Mzuzu Central Hospital. Mzuzu City Council was previously running the satellite clinics until few years ago when due to limited financial resources they became non operational. The dormancy prompted residents and small scale traders to encroach some of the clinics premises like the Zolozolo Clinic.
“There are several clinics that were under the city council but were non functional a development that saw residents seeking for services at the Mzuzu Health Centre or Mzuzu Central Hospital,” said District Health Officer for Mzimba North Collins Mitambo.
He explained that rapid population growth in the city has led to congestion at the two major health facilities prompting the health office to take charge of the outpost clinics.
“As of now, the council has handed over the clinics to us and we have already started operating even though not on full scale because they need extensive renovations and expansion,” he said.
Mitambo added that though these clinics have begun working, they are not operating as fully fledged health centers as such they are only offering a few services. He cited Zolozolo Clinic which is currently offering antenatal, family planning and HIV testing and counseling services only.
“The demand in health services has been so high such that even the current clinics may not be enough.
“If you can go to the city’s health centre and the central hospital, you will agree with me that there is indeed pressure not only on resources, but also on the workers themselves,” he said.
Mzuzu Central Hospital Public Relations Officer Twambilire Simukonda concurred with Mitambo on congestion saying even though the hospital is a referral centre, it is mostly overcrowded with the city’s residents.
Simukonda observed that the residents congest the referral hospital because they have no alternative functioning clinics within their locations to access free medical services.
“Mzuzu Central is a referral centre and it is supposed to handle cases that have gone through district hospitals, but due to increased pressure that Mzuzu Heath Centre is facing, some people come directly here.
“This is giving so much pressure to us because some minor cases can be handled in local clinics. But since they are not functional, people have nowhere else to go to seek better and affordable services,” said a visibly concerned Simukonda.
He further observed that introduction of new clinics and improvement of the existing ones, will greatly reduce the pressure as minor cases will be dealt with in their locations.
According to Mitambo, among other innovations, the health office is planning to include maternity wings and guardian shelters in the already existing clinics as one way of helping reduce maternal deaths.
Apart from Zolozolo, other satellite clinics are in Msongwe and Lusangazi locations.
The other medical facility which offers full medical services to the Mzuzu residents is Roman Catholic Church’s St John’s Hospital which was opened in the 1960s but offers paying medical services.