The big worry today in Mzuzu is the potential aftermath of the severence of ties with Taiwan in favour of a new diolomatic relationship with China. The Tiawanese are departing rapidly, bringing their personel and equipment with them. The 41 year relationship has come to a very abrupt end.
Judith Moyo, writes in the Nyasa Times on 22 January, 2008
Malawi’s recent severance of diplomatic ties with Taiwan will have devastating effects on the people of northern Malawi as government does not have contingency plans on the management of essential services, Nyasa Times has established.
Staff at Mzuzu Central Hospital is worried as to what will befall the patients as well as the HIV/AIDS programmes following news that the 20 Taiwanese medical experts are leaving the facility.
“We have been told that the hospital will have to scale down on the number of patients’ intake from the district hospitals because the Taiwanese specialist doctors who operate most of the medical equipment are leaving one by one.
“We haven’t been communicated to by the Ministry [of Health] as to what will happen when they [Taiwanese] finally leave,” said a source from the hospital’s administration.
Taiwan, in 2001 funded the construction of the only regional referral hospital in the northern region, Mzuzu Central Hospital.
The medical facility also operates an HIV/AIDS program in Mzuzu City that includes a therapeutic follow-up, which relies on a monitoring electronic system developed by the Taiwanese.
The region has very limited health facilities and the hospital is responsible for providing 40 per cent of the city’s primary in-hospital health care services and its HIV/Aids program benefits 7,900 patients with ARVs in the city. The program extends to over 70 local clinics in the region with a reach of over 50,000 patients accessing the services.
The Taiwanese have been sent packing with the end of diplomatic romance with Malawi who has roped in Mainland China.
Another project in the region affected is the Karonga-Chitipa road that has since stalled following the divorce of a 41-year diplomatic marriage.
Chinese Embassy Charge d’Affaires Fan Guijin could not commit his country on the medical personnel despite inheriting the Karonga-Chitipa road which the Chinese say will finish two years earlier than Taiwanese planned.
China pledged to support Malawi in its efforts to develop its economy when they established formal ties.
Ministry of Health officials could not provide clear answers on how government plans to replace the medical experts at Mzuzu Hospital.