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Patients at risk at Mangochi Hospital

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Patients seeking medical attention from Mangochi District Hospital are at risk following the incapacitation of some major life saving services due to the damage of equipment in the fire that gutted part of the hospital on Sunday.

Following an initial assessment, conducted by hospital management and the district council on Monday, it was discovered that some of the equipment used for responding to emergency cases was damaged or went missing in the confusion that ensued as the fire raged

Mangochi District Health Officer, Henry Chibowa Junior, confirmed in an interview after briefing the District Executive Committee that the fire has paralysed the emergency system as well as the nursery and intensive care sections.

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“Let me say here that our emergency system is paralysed. We cannot handle emergency cases at the moment but we have opened the hospital’s wards although we also have huge challenges in there due to lack of equipment,” Chibowa said.

Among the critical items which were either lost or damaged during the inferno are oxygen concentrators, oxygen splinter tubes and a CPAP machine, which helps premature babies to breath properly.

On a daily basis, Chibowa said, the hospital admits an average of 10 people requiring oxygen support and nine premature babies that require the use of a CPAP machine.

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A list of things urgently needed by the hospital includes 10 oxygen concentrators, one CPAP machine, 250 beds, 2,000 blankets, 250 mattresses, 200 thermometers and two potable ultrasound machines.

Additionally, all the fridges the hospital was using for storing vaccines were damaged.

In another development, Chibowa said the hospital has resorted to transferring patients to Zomba Central Hospital, a move he described as unsustainable in the wake of resource constraints.

“We really need immediate support to normalise the situation. At the hospital, we treat patients in the outpatients department where we also handle emergency cases before taking them to wards. The whole outpatient department is incapacitated at the moment and this is dangerous in regards to our duty of saving lives,” he said.

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