The crisis in Ministry of Health has dominated the Malawi press to buttress the fact that the southern African nation is going through a serious financial squeeze.
“QECH dialysis unit ‘shuts down’” was the headline in The Nation, which detailed thatn Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre has closed down its dialysis unit.
The paper reports that QECH dialysis unit has no reagents, putting lives of patients with renal failure and other kidney problems at risk.
Patients with renal failure and now being ferried to and from Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in Lilongwe—the only other public hospital with dialysis machines—to access the service.
“here are some reagents that use the procedure, which currently Queens has run out of and what we are doing is to take patients to Kamuzu Central Hospital to access the service and once they are assisted they are taken back to Blantyre. The whole of last week we have been taking patients to KCH.
“We cannot assist the patients, so we just develop a schedule and a [minibus] ferries the patients to Kamuzu Central Hospital for that service,” the daily quoted QECH deputy hospital administrator Chikumbutso Tambala
Tambala pointed out that the actual procurement of the reagents is done by Ministry of Health and could not guarantee when the services will be back to normal.
The paper also quoted president of Diabetes Association of Malawi, Timothy Mtambalika, who expressed concern that the development will put lives of diabetic patients at risk as they rely on the machines to clean their kidneys so that they properly function.
“Blood scarcity rocks KCH,” is another headline in The Nation which quotes Mable Chinkhata the public relations officer at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH)—the country’s second largest referral facility— confirming that thousands of people in need of blood risk dying following the depletion of the hospital’s blood bank.
The paper reports that the development has forced medics at the facility to start rationing, giving just a pint (450millilitres-ml) to an adult in need of blood and 300ml to children in a similar situation regardless of how much blood they need.
Chinkhata said the hospital is giving blood to “patients who really need blood and also those who need blood on emergency cases only.”
She said their only source of getting blood is through Malawi Blood Transfusion Service [MBTS].
“We are giving [the blood] in accordance with how much we are receiving,” she said.
According to the paper, human rights lawyer Chrispine Sibande took to his Facebook account requesting people to go to the facility to donate blood after having a feel of the situation on the ground.
The week, dominated by news of Malawi’s economic woes, also saw headlines on the long queues at Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) as themaize crisis worsens.
“Arrest crooks reselling Admarc maize—APM,” screamed another headline quoting President Peter Mutharika’s national address expressing concern over reports that there is critical shortage of maize at many Admarc depots.
The President was this week petitioned by a Thyolo-based Social and Economic Justice Organisation (Sejo) to act on soaring maize prices and its scarcity.
In his address, Mutharika ordered police to track down and arrest all “criminal maize vendors” who connive with crooked Admarc officials to purchase subsidised maize at night and resell it to poor citizens at exorbitant prices.
“This is outrageous and most criminal. It is moral recklessness which I am not going to tolerate, or allow to continue. I must warn everyone strongly that such atrocities by criminal Admarc maize vendors have to stop immediately,” the President fumed during an address to the nation.
Mutharika who thanked development partners, including the World Food Programme (WFP), who helped Malawi in making relief support to those who needed it, e ordered Admarc officials to replenish maize stocks, saying more relief money is available to contain the situation.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :