Global Fund health rights activist Maziko Matemba hails govt over new KCH dialysis machines

Global Fund Mechanism Country Coordinator Maziko Matemba has commended the government for installing dialysis machines at the Kamuzu Central Hospital in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe.

Matemba – who is also the Executive Director for Health Rights and Education Programme (HREP) – was commenting on the new developments taking place at the referral hospital as the government intensifies its efforts to deliver high quality care to parents in public facilities.

Acute shortage or outright lack of dialysis machines in Malawi’s public hospitals have been a thing of concern to health rights activists and the Kidney Foundation – a local non-governmental organization that exists to advance the welfare of patients with kidney problems in Malawi.

President Lazarus Chakwera and Madame Monica Chakwera captured at Kamuzu Central Hospital -pic by Lisa Kadango Malango

During the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration, the foundation threatened to hold a string of nationwide protests after the government demonstrated lack of commitment to resolve these problems.

Matemba said it is thus important that Malawians should commend the current government for listening to the cries of Malawians.

“The coming of dialysis machines is timely and important as we have many patients who are in those services and we hope more facilities will have those services as we have a growing number of patients. This is a good start for more so that more facilities have the machines in serving patients closer to home,” he said.

Speaking on Monday when President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera inspected the facility, Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) Director, Dr. Jonathan Ngoma, commended government for initiating the procurement of new dialysis machines, which he said are set to improve provision of care services for patients suffering from kidney diseases.

Ngoma disclosed that the dialysis unit at KCH had less than four machines and the government has restocked the unit; it has 12 machines now.

President Dr Lazarus Chakwera visits the New Dialysis Wing at Kamuzu central Hospital in Lilongwe-pic by Lisa Kadango Malango

Said Ngoma: “We were very overwhelmed by patients who were either coming from the northern region or from within the central region. We had a big population of Malawians seeking these services.”

President Chakwera made a surprise visit to KCH to appreciate challenges that the Hospital is going through.

Briefing journalists soon after the tour, the Malawi leader said he was happy that dialysis machines are working very well.

Chakwera said his concern is that people have to cover long distances to access the services.

He gave an example of a patient who has travelled all the way from Chitipa to access the services.

Chakwera said he wants each district to have these machines, even two per district.

Chakwera said the additional Dialysis machines would help decongest as well as serve many patients across the country.

“Countrywide, we only have this kidney dialysis centre and the one at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre in the south which results in many people, especially from the north, congesting here at KCH.

“We want to have as many dialysis machines as possible so that at least all district hospitals have such equipment,” he said.

Chakwera said he carefully took heed of various concerns from stakeholders in the health sector who complained of lack of enough machines at the dialysis unit at the KCH.

“We need to do more than just providing dialysis machines here but rather we need to make sure that we are able to do kidney transplants. I know it’s a long way to go but as a government, we are working tirelessly towards that goal,” he said.

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