Nkhoma Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) has temporarily closed Chinthembwe Health Centre in Ntchisi due to land wrangles with community members.
The facility has remained closed for three weeks after people from two villages surrounding the mission mobilised themselves two months ago and destroyed property and a church building at the premises.
The irate people also assaulted some synod members at the mission.
In an interview, the synod’s general secretary the Reverend Vasco Kachipapa said the facility, located in Traditional Authority (T/A) Vuso Jere, will remain closed until such the synod will be assured of its employees’ safety.
He said people from Chiliwiro and Chaola villages have encroached the synod’s land at Chinthembwe Mission, 15 kilometres away from Ntchisi Boma.
“The wrangles have been there for 10 years now. Although the court ruled in the synod’s favour, people continue to encroach the land. Recently, they started issuing threats to our staff,” Kachipapa said.
Ntchisi District director of health and social services Zondwayo Ng’oma, who is also acting district commissioner, described the people’s actions as regrettable.
“Their actions are affecting delivery of health services in the area as people now travel to Ntchisi District Hospital for healthcare,” he said. Ntchisi East legislator Bernard Chitekwe condemned the people’s conduct, saying he is already feeling the impact of the temporal closure of the facility as people turn to him to provide transport for patients to Ntchisi District Hospital.