The life of a 3-month-old boy is in great danger after his mother was banned from accessing postnatal care at Nyambi Health Centre in Machinga district for breaking safe motherhood by-laws.
Susan Wyson, a resident of Kaukutu village in Traditional Authority Nyambi said this is due to her failure to pay a K8, 000 fine for delivering on her way to the hospital.
Wyson said apart from accessing other critical healthcare her son is now failing to get vaccinations at the facility.
She claims it was not her fault to deliver on her way to the hospital since she went to the facility to wait for her labour days only to be told to come back later.
“I went to the hospital on 16th June 2017 where l was told to come back on 10th July 2017. On 30th June l started feeling labor pains and l delivered on my way to the hospital,” Wyson, a mother of four children, told a group of Journalists.
Wyson said her health passport was also snatched after refusing to pay the fine.
“I told them that we don’t have money to pay them and because they insisted my husband told them to just keep the baby instead,” she says while breastfeeding her baby.
Wyson said she is worried because the child is being punished for sins he did not commit.
She vows never to deliver at the hospital again until the law is abolished.
Health Advisory Committee (HAC) Treasurer at Nyambi Health Centre Samson Manyowa said the woman was fined using the by-laws which were approved by Senior Chief Nyambi.
“The by-laws were established to ensure that women are delivering at the hospital but our committee was not involved in the process,” he says.
Manyowa admits that the by-laws are bringing a lot of misunderstandings in the area and they want them to be abolished.
He said his committee will sit down together with all the concerned parties to iron out the issue.
Spokesperson for Machinga District Health Office (DHO), Clifton Ngozo said he is aware of the by-laws but expressed ignorance on some people being denied services.
Ngozo said his office will investigate the matter further in order to ensure that people are not been denied health care.
The issue came to light during a media tour which was organized by Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) under a UNICEF funded Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) project.
YONECO is implementing the project in partnership with Parent and Child Health Initiative (PACHI) and Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) in Nkhata Bay, Dowa, Dedza, Machinga and Zomba districts.