Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) workers have urged the Parliamentary Health Committee to push for sufficient funds for better health service delivery in health centres and referral hospitals.
The workers cited an urgent need for drugs and other appropriate equipment in most of the country’s health facilities which is forcing referral hospitals to operate like district facilities.
They said this yesterday during the committee’s fact-finding tour of KCH.
The committee visited the referral hospital to appreciate challenges facing the hospital.
Committee chairperson Juliana Lunguzi expressed worry after learning that KCH cannot handle serious emergencies.
She alleged that the use of expired drugs and equipment is crippling the hospital’s operations.
In his remarks, KCH director Jonathan Ngoma said the hospital is still waiting for the implementation of public sector reforms which can help solve some of the challenges facing the facility.
According to workers who spoke at the meeting, drug shortage is making it difficult for clinicians to make decisions for their patients.
They cited the hospital’s lack of a gadget called bronchoscope which is inserted into a patient’s body through the nose or mouth to remove an object.
They said patients in need of such treatment are referred to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre which is expensive and in some cases patients have died on the way.
“We are recycling some of the equipment that are used at the theatres because we cannot buy new ones,” one of the clinicians said.
Among other challenges, the hospital has no oxygen concentrated machines. It also has only one X-ray machine that is serving patients from Mchinji, Kasungu, Dowa and Salima.