Lilongwe - Health officials in Malawi's border district of Mwanza have expressed concern over the growing amount of Mozambicans seeking healthcare at public facilities in the area.
According to Nyasa Times, close to half of admissions at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre were Mozambicans, with 15 to 20 of the facility's maternity wards being occupied by foreign nationals.
"We are overwhelmed, we are overstretched because when we are doing our budgets for the hospital, we do not include Mozambicans. But we cannot chase them away," lamented District Health Officer Raphael Piringu.
Piringu said that although it was difficult to differentiate between Malawian residents and Mozambican nationals, the introduction of national identity documents in 2018 should help ease the burden put on the country's public health system.
The development came amid concerns over an influx of Mozambican nationals into Malawi, with government officials claiming that strain was being put on Malawi's already-fragile economy.
"This is an increasing pressure on the social service as these people need food and medical care. We are working with some partners to alleviate the problems the refugees are facing, as you know they leave their country with little or nothing for their upkeep," Mwanza District Commissioner Gift Lapozo was quoted as saying.