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11 health centres armed with emergency equipment

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Eight heath centres in Blantyre and three in Chikwawa have been supported with emergency equipment worth K11 million in a drive to reduce infancy mortality.

Malawi Liverpool Wellcome (MLW) Trust under a project, Chipatala Robot, made the contribution Monday.

Speaking at Ndirande Health Centre in Blantyre, MLW Project Coordinator for Emergency, Triage, Assessment and Treatment Mtisunge Gondwe said there was a gap as the primary health facilities were running without or with little emergency equipment.

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This was a problem as children who were assessed to be critically ill had to be ferried to a secondary or tertiary health facility.

“We identified a gap that when emergency signs were seen in child, there was no equipment to manage the situation. So you see the distance between a health facility and Queen Elizabeth (Central Hospital) is long for somebody who is in a critical condition. So with the equipment, a child can be stabilised at a health centre while waiting for an ambulance to get the patient to a referral facility,” she said.

She said, currently, the time patients wait to a see a medical practitioner has drastically reduced.

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“With the project, patients who are critically sick are able to see a medical personnel in less than 30 minutes and if they are priority patients, they are able to see a doctor within one hour,” she said.

Blantyre District Health Officer Dr Medson Matchaya, who graced the handover ceremony, said infant mortality rate will greatly reduce.

“There is a terminology in medicine called golden hour – thus the time a parent sees signs of sickness in a child to the time the child sees a doctor. That hour is very critical because the outcome will determine the health status of the child. With this project, the golden our will be improved because a sick child needs a quick medical attention,” he said

Chipatala Robot, which started in 2012 in Chikwawa and Blantyre, aims at having very sick children get treatment first instead of waiting in a queue and targets children between zero and 14 years.

Some of the items handed over to the 11 primary health facilities include oxygen concentrators, sanction machines, pulse oximeters and nebuliser machines.

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