Pregnant women and other members of communities surrounding Chikangawa Forest on Friday marched to raise funds to be used to buy an ambulance for Chikangawa Health Centre.
The idea came following the death of Fales Phiri on November 25 2016 due to loss of blood after delivery.
The ambulance that was meant to ferry Phiri came five hours later from Mzimba District Hospital.
MamaYe Activists in the area decided to fundraise for the ambulance after the government is said to have turned down request to have an ambulance at the health facility on the premise that the health centre is along the M1 Road.
Chairperson of the activists, Elizabeth Kaliyenda, said the lack of ambulance at the facility has negatively affected many lives, especially pregnant women.
“On February 31, this year, we went to meet the Mzimba District Health Officer and he told us the hospital has few ambulances and some have already been allocated to some health centres in the remotest areas. He [the DHO] argued that our health centre is along the M1 Road and patients can use public transport.
“He [the DHO] told us to use other means of securing an ambulance for the facility. We could not do otherwise but to hold this big walk to raise funds because we don’t want to register another maternal death due to mobility challenge,” Kaliyenda said.
Parliamentarian for the area Christopher Munyenyembe said he will still lobby the government to priorities allocating an ambulance to the facility in order for the country to achieve zero maternal death as demanded by World Health Organisation (WHO).
Chikangawa Health Centre Medical Assistant, Rodgers Mataya, said the facility needs serious attention to deal with cases of maternal deaths.
“We are at the centre and we are surrounded by many trading centres and villages. Their only health facility is Chikangawa Health Centre. However, we face problems to refer some patients because of mobility challenges. Our pharmacy is very small and not conducive for many services,” Mataya said.
The communities managed to raise about K150, 000.