An angry President Peter Mutharika has warned health workers in public hospitals to stop demanding money from patients in exchange for treatment, saying he would not only arrest them but get them fired.
“This charging of people for health services (in public hospitals) must stop. If I find you, you will not only be arrested, but you will be fired and you will never work in public hospitals again,” said Mutharika.
He said the health of Malawians is his priority.
Health workers at Kamuzu Central Hospital demand money from patients for treatment in public hospitals with impunity and there are reports of people dying because of delayed treatment because patients could not afford the money for prompt and swift treatment.
Last week, ministry of Health spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe said the ministry has received reports on the same from the other central hospitals and some district hospitals.
Mutharika also promised that the country will soon have an air ambulance for emergency cases.
“If we can have an air ambulance then we will save lots of lives. I want the country to have a world class health care,” he said.
Turning to the National Cancer Centre, Mutharika demanded that it be constructed within one and half years. “I don’t want “buts” or “ifs”, I want it constructed within one and half years,” he said.
He said he would be personally inspecting the construction work to ensure that it meets the deadline.
However, his speech was interjected by coughs. It was not immediately clear if he is suffering from a cough – which is a minor problem.
The president told the people gathered, including the ruling Democratic Progressive Party supporters that his government is set to make health care a great success in the country.
He also told the ministry of Health to hold private sector health care as partners to government not competitors.
Mutharikaalso said the government should always honour its agreement with Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM).