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Oxygen plant to ease shortage at Qech

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By Martin Phiri:

Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (Qech) now has an operational oxygen plant which is expected to ease shortage of oxygen amidst Covid-19 scare.

Qech Director, Samson Mndolo, revealed this when the Deputy Minister of Health, Chrissie Kalamula Kanyasho, led a delegation on a tour of the referral hospital to appreciate Covid -19 interventions in Blantyre.

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He said the hospital is now able to produce and supply enough oxygen to wards at reduced cost, hence can ably handle Covid-19 patients.

“Covid-19 patients need more oxygen than others. We need to supply more oxygen because Covid-19 patients always need intensive care. We also need more oxygen regulators to supply to all wards,” he said.

However, Mndolo said the hospital needs more staff as some nurses and clinicians have been quarantined due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

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“We already had too many vacancies at the hospital before Covid-19 and this has been aggravated due to pressure of the Coronavirus. I have proposed to government that we urgently recruit nurses and clinicians not only for Qech but also for other Covid-19 isolation centres,” he said.

Mdolo said existing staff is stigmatised when using public transport due to rising cases among health workers hence they need special transport to and fro work.

“We currently hire four Malawi Post Office buses at MK100, 000 each per day, excluding fuel and allowances for drivers, which is putting pressure on our budget. We initially planned to stop the arrangement but 31st July but I think we were dreaming,” he said.

Mndolo said another challenge is delays in payment of allowances which has resulted in sit-ins and boycott of duties among health workers.

On her part, Kanyasho said she is impressed with interventions being undertaken such as the oxygen plant, field hospitals and dedication of staff towards treatment and management of corona virus cases.

Qech tests 25 people every day, where half test positive and five get critical attention.

Blantyre as a district has more than 700 registered Covid-19 cases, with 28 deaths.

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