‘Mobile health facilities need to be encouraged’

Post was last updated: November 21, 2016

Agreeing to new findings that 65 percent of people in the country do not have their health needs attended to due to cost and distance to health facilities, Parliamentary Committee on Health says revamping mobile clinics in the country can likely push the figures down.

Committee Chairperson, Juliana Lunguzi, said in an interview on Saturday that the country’s policy indicates that for every radius of eight to 10 kilometres, there has to be a health facility, which is not the case.

The findings are part of ‘Education and Health Issues in Malawi’ from the 2016 Malawi Local Governance and Performance Index by the Institute of Public Opinion and Research.

“The challenge that we have is that not every health facility will be found at that radius. That is also why nobody will just leave there home and say I am going to the hospital.

“But all is not lost because in our pillars of health systems, we have that area of health promotion of which mobile health facilities need to be encouraged. But it is an area that we are not doing well on primary health care. In primary health care we can have teams which can be going near the people. So we can’t always depend on the static facilities,” she said.

Lunguzi’s remarks come at a time when one of the private health facilities in the country, Mwaiwathu is undertaking a disease awareness month to end on November 29 this year.

Medical Director for the hospital, Professor Jack Wirima, said this year they decided to dwell on HIV and Aids awareness as many people think that the issue is no longer relevant for discussion.

“Our interest on the HIV and Aids is three-fold: Firstly, we have seen people defaulting treatment after they start feeling better. The end result is not all good as we have lost lives because the virus wakes up strong. The other thing is to do with beliefs; some people have stopped taking medication due to some cultural or spiritual beliefs. We strongly advise patients not to stop taking their medication.

“The last thing is solely to protect lives because effective treatment reduces transmission,” he said.

Wirima added that as the disease is associated with beliefs, time is ripe to make collaborations, to end the virus from further spreading by the year 2030 according UNAids guidelines .

“We are making an effort to collaborate with institutions like the College of Medicine to come up with a comprehensive report on the beliefs and how we can incorporate proprietors of the beliefs to jointly win the battle,” Wirima said.

Over 5,000 people in Blantyre have gone for free HIV test during the awareness campaign courtesy of Mwaiwathu Private Hospital.

The awareness, which is done every year, is themed “Early diagnosis of HIV and adherence to treatment

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