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Congestion forces government to decentralize diabetes clinics

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The Blantyre District Health Office has unveiled plans to decentralize diabetes clinics to health centres due to congestion at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH).

The campaign expects to start by the end of July as a pilot phase in Chilomoni, Ndirande and Limbe.

According to Blantyre District Health Officer, Medson Matchaya, his office will work jointly with the Diabetes Association of Malawi (Dam) and QECH management to ensure that diabetic and hypertensive patients are being attended to in their townships.

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Matchaya said the intention is to equip health centres across the country with doctors and medical supplies so that diabetics should get required medication in their areas.

He said the move will ease the pressure that is currently at QECH where they are receiving up to 80 diabetics on a clinic day which is forcing some patients to go back home without being attended to.

The DHO further said with this development, only critically ill patients will be referred to QECH.

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Asked whether the health sector will manage the programme as it is going through financial hiccups at the moment, Matchaya said that will not prevent them from implementing the move as the problem is temporary while the plans are long-term.

“Lately, we encountered financial constraints but it has been sorted out so that is not our worry anymore. The focus is to make this decentralization plan a success because the situation at Queens is discouraging. The pressure is mounting by day,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dam has applauded the health sector for coming up with the campaign, saying it will stop the patients from travelling long distances to get medication.

Dam president Timothy Mtambalika assured diabetics that they will receive proper care as government has pledged enough resources to ensure success of the campaign.

“This is a welcome development because things have been hectic on the part of clinical officers as they have to attend to many patients at once. It has not been a healthy situation but government’s intervention will improve the situation,” he said.

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