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Government speaks on K3 billion orthopaedic operating theatres

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By Richard Chirombo:

Terrence Namaona

The government, through its Department of Buildings (DoB), has said it is committed to promoting the welfare of citizens through the provision of equipment and infrastructure to public facilities that need them.

Director of Buildings, Terrence Namaona, cited recent developments at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH), which, according to Ministry of Health statistics, treats about 59 percent of road accident victims in the country.

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Despite the increased number of road accident victims treated, the hospital had been without an orthopaedic operating theatre suitable for such cases until mid- June last year, when Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) saved it from the claws of resource constraints.

DoB, which is under the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, played a role in lobbying development partners to fund the project and monitor the K3 billion-worth operation theatres at KCH.

“Our mandate is to assist ministries, departments and agencies to implement building infrastructure projects. These could be new or existing infrastructures that require changes or maintenance to handle defects.

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“We also provide technical assistance which includes architectural, building services, quantity surveying, structural design, landscape and cost planning and management services. Apart from the KCH project, the DoB has registered many achievements across the country, examples being design and supervision of the construction of Sunbird Capital and Mzuzu hotels, as well as the design and construction of Capital Hill and the supervision of the construction of Bingu International Convention Centre and Malawi University of Science and Technology just to name a few,” he said.

Prior to the construction of the Orthopaedic Centre, KHC had three operation theatres.

He, however, acknowledged that, instead of completing the project in eight months as per plan, it took close to three years, citing factors such as staff turnover.

The department’s mission is to regulate infrastructure through the development and enforcement of policies and standards to promote quality, safe and sustainable infrastructure.

Orthopaedic Centre Project Principal Architect, Arthur Chiphiko, said they started with the construction of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU)/High Dependence Unit (HDU) under a group called the Odala Trust.

After that, there was a proposal to rehabilitate and finish the ICU/HDU, which culminated in the department courting donors for support, hence NCA’s involvement in the initiative.

“However, even though this vital part was done, it was noticed that the hospital had problems with surgical departments, especially the theatres. It had four theatres which could not even hold the capacity of patients that the hospital receives,” Chiphiko said.

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