WaterAid officials that spent a night on Thursday at Ntcheu District Hospital in this year’s Nation Publications Limited (NPL) Mothers Fun Run Programme have expressed shock over the congestion at the maternity wing.
The group was also touched by the water, sanitation and hygiene (Wash) situation at the hospital.
In an interview, WaterAid head of finance and information technology Jecap Ozias expressed concern that since good hygiene and sanitation practices begin with water—the lack of it can be a source of problems.
“I was depressed with the status of water, sanitation and hygiene. In addition, the water equipment has outlived its lifespan, and unable to bring water to the wards,” he said.
WaterAid project manager for Deliver Life Project Natasha Mwenda noted that more needs to be done to improve the situation at the district hospital’s maternity wing such as increasing bed capacity.
Ntcheu District Hospital director of health and social services Mike Chisema said the congestion in the wards brings competition for water and sanitary facilities.
“There are many patients in the ward; over double what the ward is supposed to contain.
“The ward is designed to accommodate at least 40 people but often-times the number is over 80 with babies and there is not much we can do about it,” he said.
The hospital, which gets referrals from 38 other health centres around the district, has an average of 20 deliveries per day.