President Peter Mutharika yesterday launched the construction of a Cancer Treatment Centre in Lilongwe by outlining a number of projects in the health sector to improve service delivery.
The projects include construction of Blantyre, Zomba and Dowa hospitals and a modern military hospital for Malawi Defence Force equipped with an air ambulance.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of the centre, to be located at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH), Mutharika said government will allocate money for more projects in the next financial year.
“We are concluding evaluation process for Phalombe District Hospital and next year, the project of the hospital is commencing. I will also tell the Minister of Health to put provisions in the next budget for Blantyre District Hospital,” he said.
Mutharika said the cancer centre will reduce the cost and number of patients sent outside for treatment by 50 percent.
He said: “We will no longer send our cancer patients outside Malawi. As such, this Cancer Treatment Centre will cut down the cost of sending patients abroad by at least 50 percent.
“I want us to stop exporting patients. Instead, we must begin exporting medical care services. Time has come for other nations to come to Malawi for medical care.”
The cancer centre is being constructed with a loan from Opec Fund for International Development (Ofid) to the tune of $13 million (about K10 billion). The Malawi Government will also make financial contribution as per Ofid’s loan conditions.
Ofid’s senior operations officer in the Department of Public Sector Operations, Khaled Al-Zayer, expressed delight at working with Malawi Government in development projects since 1977 when bilateral relationships were established.
Since 1977, Ofid has financed 18 projects in the sectors of agriculture, education and health.
At the event, Mutharika urged Ministry of Health to improve its working relationship with the private sector in health service delivery.
“I want also to see full support given to the Christian Health Association of Malawi [Cham]. Let us honour our service agreement with Cham because these are the people that reach our people’s lives where there are no government health facilities,” he said.
For years, there has been a sour working relationship emanating from failure to pay Cham for the patients from government hospitals.