500 people on heart diseases referral list
About 500 people including women and children are on the referral list to go outside the country and seek medical help for their heart illnesses.
This was revealed by Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda when she hosted members of a cardiac camp which Malawi and Tanzania set up at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre.
Kandodo Chiponda said cardiac ailments are among the referral cases that Malawi spends a lot of money on.
“This is because we do not have a cardiac centre like other countries such as Tanzania. The waiting list for treatment of such cases is quite long because the country does not get enough resources for referrals.
“During the 2023/24 national budget, referrals have been allocated K1.5 billion only. This amount of money is not enough to cater for everyone. We are therefore working towards providing such services right here and setting up of the camp is just one step towards establishment of a centre of excellence for such conditions,” Kandodo Chiponda said.
Director of Cardiac Surgeries at Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute in Tanzania, Angela Muhozya, said they had planned to see 80 adult and child patients in Malawi but by day four, they had seen close to 400.
“Malawi just needs willingness to have a cardiac centre just like Tanzania and other countries. Malawi just needs the will which I have seen in the Minister of Health and other officials. One step which they have already taken is opening doors for other players to come in. This is a good and commendable step,” she said.
Malawi is among the few countries that do not have a cardiac centre.
This compels the government to earmark resources for sending patients with heart problems for treatment in India or South Africa.
Justin Mkweu is a fast growing reporter who currently works with Times Group on the business desk.
He is however flexible as he also writes about current affairs and national issues.