Government needs to raise R2 078 676 (about K83 147 040) to maintain 20 broken X-ray machines and procure X-ray film processing machines in public health facilities, including one at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in Lilongwe.
KCH alone provides X-ray services to about 100 patients a day and 2 500 a month on average.
However, the facility has not been offering such services due to breakdown of the X-ray film processing machines.
This raised fears among some quarters that KCH or government could be spending on referrals to other private or Christian Health Association of Malawi (Cham) facilities.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe said in response to a questionnaire yesterday that there have been no extra charges to the Ministry of Health or KCH for X-ray services.
He said no patient requiring X-ray services has been referred to a private or Cham health facility.
Chikumbe said: “All patients requiring X-ray prints are now being referred to Bwaila Hospital [in Lilongwe].”
Quizzed why the ministry was taking ages to repair or maintain the machines, Chikumbe said the service contract which government signed with a South African company expired some months ago.
He added that the renewal process took a long time to be completed and this resulted in the suspension of X-ray services in a number of health facilities across the country.
“But the good news is that the contract has just been signed a week ago and the company, Loamen Medical (Pty) Ltd, shall soon start servicing all film processors not only at KCH, but in all government hospitals across the country.
“It costs R2 078 676 (approximately K83 147 040) to maintain 20 machines across the country for one year in which there will also be preventive maintenance undertaken once every four months and unlimited number of corrective maintenance,” said Chikumbe.
He could not indicate whether government has already sourced the money.