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Government decommissions BNS Covid Centre

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By Deogratias Mmana:

The government has suspended operations at the 300-bed Bingu National Stadium Covid Field Hospital and removed all the patients.

But Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said, while patients had been moved from the hospital and services suspended, equipment had not been removed.

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“We are still discussing the issue; perhaps it could be used as a Covid vaccination centre,” said Kandodo Chiponda when asked about reasons for closing the hospital when there was a threat of the possible third wave of the pandemic.

After being relatively spared by the Covid pandemic in 2020, Malawi was swept by a new, fast-spreading wave of the disease that quickly overwhelmed the healthcare system, hence the decision to turn BNS into a treatment centre.

The Ministry of Health has, meanwhile, invited Bingu National Stadium Taskforce members to a meeting today, where they would discuss the issue of decommissioning of the hospital.

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In the letter inviting stakeholders to today’s meeting, the ministry says it has been compelled to close the stadium hospital because of decreased cases of Covid admissions.

“As you are aware, the cases of Covid and admissions are decreasing. Following this downward trend, the Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) Management is considering moving back the Covid patients to KCH,” reads the letter with reference number DPPD/26 and signed by Kate Langwe on behalf of the Secretary for Health.

“In this regard, the Ministry of Health, through the Department of Planning and Policy Development, is inviting you to a taskforce meeting on Wednesday, 17th March 2021, at 2pm to discuss the decommissioning of the Bingu National Stadium Covid Field Hospital. The meeting will be held at KCH Dental Department Conference Room,” the letter adds.

The ministry has started distributing AstraZeneca Covid vaccine across the country.

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