Mystery surrounds the cause of death for three members of a family in Blantyre after Chiradzulu District Council disowned a postmortem report police claim was conducted at the facility.
The deceased, identified as Evance Harry, his wife Matilda Madaliso and daughter Emily, were found dead in their house in Nyambadwe, Blantyre last Monday.
Ndirande Police Station spokesperson Widson Nhlane said in an interview the bodies were taken to Chiradzulu District Hospital for postmortem and that results showed death was caused by suffocation from a charcoal burner.
On why they ferried the bodies to Chiradzulu, a distance of about 28 kilometres from the scene in Blantyre, Nhlane said there is a special arrangement between the station and the hospital.
But Chiradzulu District director of health and social services Dr. Jameson Chautsa, in a separate interview, said he was not aware that the hospital conducted the said postmortem.
He referred The Nation to district medical officer Dr. Raphael Bwezani, saying his office is responsible for such issues.
Bwezani disowned the purported report, saying a postmortem cannot be performed at the hospital without his knowledge.
He said: “As a hospital, we are not aware that the said bodies were brought for postmortem at Chiradzulu District Hospital.”
National Police spokesperson Peter Kalaya insisted police opted for Chiradzulu because the service costs lower than at Queen Elizabeth Central (QECH) in Blantyre.
He said: “At QECH we pay K150 000 per body while at Chiradzulu District Hospital we pay K25 000.”
Commenting on the matter, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences associate professor of pathology Dr. Steve Kamiza said the fact that there was a charcoal burner in the deceased’s house does not necessarily mean that they died from suffocation.
He said: “In ideal situation, this issue should have been handled by a pathologist because a pathologist does not just look at the body per se. They will look at the site as well.”
In a separate interview, Medical Council of Malawi assistant registrar for professional practice Richard Ndovie said the council will institute investigations into the issue.
Harry, 31, came from Pawo Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Kapichi in Thyolo while Madaliso, 30, was from Masulani Village, T/A Kapeni in Blantyre.
Madaliso was buried in Blantyre alongside her seven-year old daughter while Harry was buried in Thyolo on Tuesday last week. n