Patient admissions for Covid-19 in the country’s public hospitals sharply declined within a month
from 340 on January 28 to 91 on February 28, easing the pressure on the strained facilities and frontline healthcare workers.
Public Health Institute of Malawi (Phim) Covid-19 reports indicate that as of March 2 2021, the country’s public hospitals had 89 admiited Covid-19 patients, the lowest during the second wave. On January 10 2021, the country also had 89 admissions in public hospitals.
By breakdown, 20 of the 89 patients were admitted in Blantyre, 19 in Lilongwe, 10 in Zomba, seven in Mzimba North (Mzuzu), six in Thyolo, five in Karonga, three each in Nkhata Bay, Mchinji, Neno and Mulanje; two each in Mzimba South, Ntcheu and Salima; and one each in Mangochi, Chitipa, Rumphi and Chikwawa.
The reduction in the number of inpatients for Covid-19-related complications has compelled Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre, the country’s biggest referral centre, to close some of its Covid-19 wards.
In an interview on Tuesday, QECH director Samson Mndolo said the hospital has closed the Covid-19 ward that operated from the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Department. He said the development will now enable the ENT Department to revert to its normal operations.
He said following the closure of ENT as a Covid-19 ward, QECH is now remaining with two wards; 1A which handles Covid-19 pregnant women patients and 3A which has a demarcation and handles both male and female Covid-19 patients.
Said Mndolo: “We have closed ENT as a Covid-19 ward. That’s evidence that the number of patients has drastically gone down, but let’s not loosen the Covid-19 preventive measures.
“Ward 1A only keeps the pregnant women, so, even if we have one patient, we cannot take her to Ward 3A. Thus, Ward 1A will always be there.”
He attributed the reduction in admissions to the cooperation between the public and healthcare workers in the fight against coronavirus pandemic. By 4.30pm on Tuesday, QECH had 14 Covid-19 patients in its wards.
Mndolo said during the current second wave of Covid19, the hospital recorded the highest Covid-19 patients in January when it had about 110 patients.
In a separate interview, Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) director Jonathan Ngoma said on Tuesday that the facility had five patients while the improvised 300-bed capacity Bingu National Stadium field hospital had 13.
He said both KCN and the field hospital recorded the highest
number of Covid-19
admission in January with 86 patients.
On his part, Zomba Central Hospital director Joshua Matius on Tuesday said the Eastern Region referral centre had seven Covid-19 patients admitted.
He said the highest number of patients admitted to the facility at one time was 15 in January.
Mzuzu Central Hospital director Frank Sinyiza said on Tuesday that the hospital had eight patients and that the highest number of admissions it recorded was 26 in January.
From January 10 2021, the number of Covid-19 admissions nationwide sharply increased as did deaths. The admissions jumped from 102 on January 11 to 323 on January 25 and then 340— the highest—on January 28.
Commenting on the trend, Malawi Health Equity Network executive director George Jobe said the closure of ETN Department as a Covid-19 ward at QECH could signify two things. First, he said it could reflect that the country is winning the
battle against the pandemic and secondly, it could be that people are nursing Covid-19 patients in their homes.
But he expressed optimism that if the country does not record more new cases, all designated Covid-19 treatment centres would soon be empty.
Jobe said: “Much as we are looking at the positivity rate, we are also considering much on severe cases. How many are admitted and then we are also considering the number of deaths. They have all gone down.
“We should also encourage people not to nurse Covid-19 patients in their homes, but should take them to hospitals because people there are recovering and being discharged.”
Cumulatively, the country has registered 32 148 cases, 19 904 recoveries and 1 053 deaths as of March 2 2021.
Malawi reported its first Covid-19 cases on April 2 2020, weeks after the World Health Organisation had declared as a global pandemic the respiratory infection first diagnosed in Wuhan, China in December 2019.