The Baobab Health Trust has donated a Double Frequency Green Lazer machine to Mzuzu Central Hospital (MCH) valued at K31 million.
The machine, which is used to treat eye complications in diabetic patients, is the first of its kind at the regional referral health facility.
Director of Non- Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and Mental Health in the Ministry of Health (MOH), Kaponda Masiye, said during the handover ceremony that dabetes remains one of the neglected diseases which accounts for a majority of deaths in adults.
A 2009 NCDs steps survey, according to Masiye, revealed that six percent of adult Malawians aged from 25 years and above are affected by diabetes most of which are hypertensive.
“About 80 percent of diabetes deaths occur in low and middle-income countries including Malawi. Some of such victims present signs of acute diabetic eye complications which cost fortunes to treat,” Masiye said on Monday.
He then conceded that, in the last 15 years, the government has invested a lot on infectious diseases at the expense of NCDs which research shows that if the situation remains unchecked, by 2025, their severity will surpass the communicable diseases.
Masiye then hailed Baobab Health for the gesture saying it will lift a huge burden off MCH, in terms of managing and treating diabetic patients with eye complications.
“Government is also going to save a lot of money because patients from the Northern Region were usually taken to Lilongwe or Blantyre to access the Lazer services,” he said.
MCH Hospital Director, Frank Sinyiza, said the facility has about 2,000 patients of diabetes in the current cohort.
“This is a huge relief to us because we will be able to manage diabetic retinopathy from within, thus saving on time and costs, above all saving lives,” Sinyiza said.
Baobab Health Trust, Executive Director, Martha Kwataine appealed to members of staff at the hospital to take good care of the machine and ensure that ordinary patients are benefiting from its services.
The machine, according to Kwataine, was procured from India with support from the World Diabetes Foundation 14-398 Project running for three years. The project aims at contributing towards the health of Malawians.
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