A group of some 32 medics from the East, Central and Southern African Health Community (Ecsa-HC) has arrived in Malawi for of a medical/surgical camp scheduled to begin tomorrow at Thyolo District Hospital.
The team is being led by Professor Christopher Samukange, lead personal surgeon for Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.
The camp, the third of its kind since Ecsa’s establishment in 2012, is a hope to some 149 surgical patients in southern Malawi.
Minister of Health and Population Dr Jean Kalirani said several people are scheduled to have hip and knee replacements among other critical surgeries by the close of the camp on Friday November 14.
She also said the camp is a huge cost-saving on medical bills government would have otherwise incurred had it referred the 149 patients to South Africa for specialised medical care.
“This event will bring together local and foreign specialists from Ecsa comprising physicians, cardiovascular, orthopaedic surgeons, anaesthetists, obstetricians, gynaecologists, urologists and physiotherapists and other medical care personnel,” she said.
Malawi, with a population of about 15 million people, has a doctor-patient ratio of about 1:10 000 and a much lesser population of specialised surgeons.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a ratio of 1: 1 000.
According to Samukange, the medical camp is an initiative of African doctors to try and bridge the medical human resource gap threatening the survival of large African populations due to shortage of specialists and equipment.
“It emphasises the fact that as Africans, we can assist each other in times of need.