President Lazarus Chakwera has expressed concern with the increased motorcycle accidents as well as the shortage of dialysis machines, which is putting more pressure on the health sector.
Chakwera made the observation in Lilongwe when he visited the Dialysis Unit and Orthopaedic Ward at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) Monday to appreciate the situation.
He said he was informed that 75 percent of all cases admitted to Orthopaedic Ward were technical as a result of motorcycle [kabaza] road accidents.
“This is a sad thing, because when we started to say we need to regularise this, sometimes people misunderstood that it was a political statement and would even go and say we do not want any of that.
“Now we are paying the price for something that we should have handled better,” said Chakwera.
The Malawi leader added that it was good that Parliament had taken up the issue, hoping there would be regulations to save lives.
On the dialysis unit, he said much as he appreciated the new dialysis wing due to various interventions, it was also clear that the country was far from providing Malawians with the best service.
He indicated that many patients were still travelling long distances because it was only KCH and Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre that were offering the service.
“You cannot have people travel from Chitipa to get services; we want to do what we have done here so that we have at least every district hospital one or two dialysis machines to serve the people best.
“I think we will need to do more than just provide these machines. We will also need to make sure that we are able to do kidney transplants in the country,” he explained.
KCH Hospital Director, Jonathan Ngoma, agreed that there was a need to increase the number of dialysis machines because the hospital was overwhelmed as other patients travel long distances and others moved from their districts to stay in Lilongwe.
On motorcycle accidents, Ngoma said: “I am very concerned, the [accident] ward is full, we expect to have more patients and the surgeons cannot manage to operate now and again.”
The Ministry of Health, through KCH, purchased 12 new dialysis machines to ease the challenges that patients in need of the service have been facing,
For some time, the hospital has had challenges with its dialysis machines which were installed in 2013 ending up sending patients to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Blantyre.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.