By Watipaso Mzungu, Contributor:
The government has finally taken responsibility to fly a 14-year-old boy from Mchinji District to undergo specialist urology operation in India, a day after The Daily Times’ Friday Shaker exposed his ordeal.
Ministry of Health spokesperson, Joshua Malango, confirmed the development on Saturday, saying senior officials from the ministry visited the boy in Nyamawende Village, Traditional Authority Zulu, to assess his condition and made travel recommendations.
The officials’ visit came barely a day after The Daily Times on Friday published its Friday Shaker, which highlighted the excruciating pain the boy has endured for four years because the government had failed to fly him abroad for specialist treatment.
“The boy is in our hands at Mchinji District Hospital where doctors are assessing his condition. We would also like to investigate where things went wrong because the government gives children the priority when it comes to referrals to foreign hospitals,” Malango said.
But Malango could not commit himself on the actual date the boy is expected to be flown to India.
He said Malawi has 256 cases of patients waiting to be flown to foreign hospitals for specialist treatment for various ailments.
“But on that list, there is this child because the government gives children a priority. So, as soon as recommendations are made and funds identified, this boy will certainly be given priority,” Malango said.
The boy’s father, a Mr Banda, confirmed about the officials’ visit to his village, followed by the deployment of an ambulance to pick the child to Mchinji District Hospital for assessment on Saturday.
“We are, indeed, at Mchinji District Hospital. They are making arrangements to enable us to fly to India. I don’t have the best word to ‘thank you’ in person and The Daily Times for highlighting the plight of my child. May God reward you,” an audibly relieved Banda said in a telephone interview.
The boy has endured the pain of living with three catheters which were inserted beneath his navel after breaking his urinary tract in December 2013 after falling from a tree.
He fell when his peers frightened him that armed nyau/ gule wamkulu (masked dancers) were approaching a tree he had climbed to pluck fruits.
A catheter is a flexible tube inserted through a narrow opening into a body cavity, particularly the bladder, for removing fluid.