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Covid overwhelms central hospitals

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Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda

Central hospitals in the country have started feeling the pinch of the Covid third wave, with increased cases of admissions reported throughout the country.

At Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in the Central Region, for example, increased cases of Covid admissions at its isolation centre prompted hospital officials to move others to the Eye Department, according to inside sources.

One of the sources said the facility was overwhelmed over the weekend, hence the decision to take some patients to the Eye Department.

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There were at least 29 people in the overflow and 19 more in the main isolation centre, the source said.

Currently, the hospital has about 22 patients in the overflow and 15 in the main isolation centre, the source added.

However, KCH Director Jonathan Ngoma said the hospital was not overwhelmed per se but, rather, they planned to create more space within the facility.

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He said while they were taken unawares during the second wave of Covid, they were more than ready for the third wave of Covid.

“We, as a hospital, have planned to have about 100 beds for Covid patients within the Eye and Skin departments. We have created the space because we do not want to go back to Bingu Isolation Centre,” Ngoma said.

Currently, the hospital has about 22 beds in the isolation centre and 40 beds in the Eye Department.

During the second wave, Ministry of Health officials, acting on the directive of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid, turned Bingu National Stadium into a Covid isolation centre following an increase in the number of people that were testing positive for coronavirus.

In the Southern Region, cases of people being admitted to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) are also rising.

QECH Director Samson Mndolo said the hospital has been recording cases of new admissions from last week.

“Today [Monday], we started with 59 [cases] but, by the time we close today, we will be in the 60s.

“Of course, for us, space is not a problem but we are in full wave for sure,” he said.

Mndolo, however, said most of the people being admitted to the facility were those that did not receive a dose of Oxford-AstraZeneca or any other Covid vaccine.

“Actually 90 percent of the admissions did not receive their vaccine at all while about eight percent have only received a single jab,” he said.

In Mzuzu, things are under control, spokesperson Arnold Kayira has said.

He said the facility was ready to handle Covid patients using locally available resources.

“Mzuzu Central Hospital currently has four cases of Covid and they are in good condition.

“We have space in the [Covid] ward and our workforce is enough. We have not yet received many cases but we have hope that the resources we have can take us far in as far as handling the patients is concerned,” Kayira said.

On Friday, the government announced strict Covid preventative measures to stem cases of Covid infection, with Presidential Taskforce on Covid co-Chairperson Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda indicating that the measures were necessary due to rising cases of Covid in the country.

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