Patients requiring scanning at Karonga District Hospital continue to dig deep into their pockets to travel to Chitipa District Hospital to seek the service.
The X-ray machine at Karonga District Hospital developed a fault five months ago and it is yet to be repaired.
During our visit to the hospital, patients admitted for scanning were seen arriving from Chitipa while some were sourcing money to go to Chitipa for the service.
Gertrude Mtelekesya from Kafikisira Village in Paramount Chief Kyungu, said she spent K15 000 to travel to Chitipa with her husband Kenson Chavula to access the service.
Another guardian, Felix Zizwa, from Ngara in Senior Chief Mwilang’ombe, said they sold a cow last week to hire a lorry to ferry a patient Matiyasi Mwanyesya to Chitipa for scanning.
“He was in a critical condition that forced us to sell the animal to raise money for transport,” he said.
On his part, Great North chief operations officer Henry Kumwenda said the long distance that patients and guardians cover from Karonga to Chitipa was a setback towards achieving universal health coverage.
“Let duty-bearers fix the X-ray machine and save the poor from spending more money on healthcare services,” he said.
Karonga district director of health and social services David Sibale confirmed the development.
“However, technicians will rectify the problem soon,” he said.
Minister of Health Khumbize Chiponda was surprised at the development, saying it was not good for a district hospital to operate without an X-ray machine.