Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre has temporarily shut down its dialysis unit because of non payment of materials to suppliers Fresenius Medical Care of South Africa , putting lives of patients with renal failure and other kidney problems at risk.
QECH is the country’s major referral public hospital but is unable to help patients because of non-functioning machines, Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume confirmed.
Ministry of Health is responsible for procurement of the supplies for the computer controlled machines—the most important equipment in treating chronic renal patients and those with kidney problems.
“The suppliers say they cannot track our payment un their account but over the months we have made paymenets of nearly K500 0000 000,” Kumpalume said.
The development has financially strained the health facility as it is now being forced to ferry the patients to and from Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in Lilongwe—the only other public hospital with dialysis machines—to access the service.
Kumpalume said Ministry of Health will cover the transportation costs for the patients that are referred to KCH.
Those that can afford private clinic are being referred to Mwaiwathu Hospital to pay between K65,000 and K80,000 for every four hours they spend on the machine.
The Minister of Health said they have asked the suppliers to airlift the materials into Malawi.