Ministry ponders easing Covid guardians’ restrictions
Ministry of Health (MoH) has disclosed that it is piloting that patients admitted to hospitals with Covid -19 should have their own guardians to complement health workers who are limited.
Initially, guardians were not permitted in Covid-19 wards for fear of contracting the virus and consequently, health workers were taking the guardian roles.
MoH Public Relations Officer Adrian Chikumbe told Malawi News that it is becoming impracticable for health workers to look after the Covid-19 patients alone as the third wave is growing.
Chikumbe said a few health facilities have been selected to pilot the strategy and will be rolled out fully once it is proved that it is workable.
“We are trying to see if it can work to have only one guardian looking after a Covid patient and ensure that they don’t contract the virus. We know it is not easy and that is why only health workers are allowed in Covid Treatment Centres. But we want to see if it can work and once we see positive results, guardians will be allowed in treatment centres,” Chikumbe said.
Society of Medical Doctors of Malawi president Victor Mithi welcomed the idea, saying it will help in areas of mental-related issues affecting patients with Covid-19.
“What you must know is that patients at treatment centres lack encouragement from their relatives. Others feel they have been abandoned by their parents. We have health workers who can work on such areas but they are not enough and we think guardians can assist,” Mithi said.
He however, said this must be handled with care, bearing in mind that it is possible that the move can fuel the spread of the pandemic because of laxity by some guardians.
Currently, patients that are suffering from Covid-19 are only looked after by health workers and relatives are not allowed to enter the treatment centres to avoid spread of the pandemic.
But a quick visit to one of the isolation centres in Lilongwe this past week showed that under the pilot phase, one guardian per patient is being accommodated.
There had been growing calls from the public for government to make provisions for Covid-19 patients to have a guardian at the centres, arguing that leaving them entirely in the hands of health workers was in a way subjecting the patients to psychological and mental trauma as some felt abandoned.
As of Wednesday, 400 people were admitted in different treatment centres.