FIRE GUTS MANGOCHI DISTRICT HOSPITAL AFFECTING YOUTH ACCESS TO SRH SERVICES
On the morning of 15th April 2018, around 10:00 am a fire erupted and burnt down the integrated Maternal and Child Health block of Mangochi District Hospital.
The affected building block housed, among others,Youth Friendly Health Services Corner, Family Planning, HIV testing and counseling services and Cervical Cancer screening and treatment.
Immediately when news was circulated on the accident and call for help, CYECE mobilized young people it works who with joined hands with other concerned community members and started putting out the fire using water and sand, while helping to save some of the equipment in the building.
CYECE District Coordinator teamed up with government heads of sectors such as the Police Officer- in-Charge, District Social Welfare Officer, District Health Officer and his Administrators and the Director of Finance from the District Commissioner’s Office working out crisis management response mechanisms. The discussions resulted in all medical staff being called to duty in order to attend to hospitalized patients who had abandoned their wards for fear of being burnt, heavy presence of Police Officers to prevent vandalism and further damage to property.
The fire was finally contained by 12 noon in the absence of a fire brigade. Unfortunately, a lot of equipment, furniture, drugs and data documents were damaged or lost in the chaos that ensued.
CYECE has been in partnership with the Mangochi District Hospital since 2011 growing from one project on Promotion Of Girls SRHR And Education In Rural Malawi to addition of two new youth SRHR projects namely Enhancing The Uptake Of SRHR Services Among Young People In Malawi and Get Up! Speak Out!. All of the three projects have components where the Youth Friendly Health Services Section of the Hospital have always supported with technical and commodity support while part of our resources have over the years supported delivery of SRHR services especially to young people through capacity building, health commodities resources mobilization, provision of bicycles to ease community health workers’ mobility for outreaches.
The damage to this section of the District hospital affects young people’s access to SRHR services from their preferred corner where there were edutainment, sporting materials that have also been damaged in the accident. Worse still it puts our project operations to a standstill since the facility won’t be able to support our outreach initiatives with the health commodities.
The facility therefore is in urgent need for assistance as has been communicated to all development partners in the district.CYECE chairs the District Youth and Sports Technical Working Group and remains a key partner in health service delivery to young people hence the need to consider any form of assistance to the facility along with the others that might be coming in to support.