The Medical Council of Malawi (MCM) has not inspected the country’s hospitals for over a year as opposed to the legal requirement of every three months, The Nation has learnt.
This puts lives of patients at stake as the non-inspection creates a conducive environment for sub-standard and unlicensed hospitals and medical practitioners to flourish.
In an interview, MCM registrar Abel Kaonga said the council last conducted comprehensive inspection in November 2011 when they, among others, found that Kamuzu Palace Clinic in Lilongwe was sub-standard and not fit to handle emergencies four months before former president, the late Bingu wa Mutharika collapsed and died.
He said the council has not inspected the hospitals for over 16 months because of lack of funding from the Ministry of Health to do the exercise.
“It’s mandatory to do the inspection. If you don’t inspect the hospitals regularly, standards go down since nobody watches what practitioners and health facilities do,” said Kaonga.
He said apart from checking licences of medical doctors, the council also checks medical equipment, infrastructure and all facilities to determine whether or not they are fit for usage.
In an e-mailed response, Ministry of Health public relations officer Henry Chimbali admitted that the ministry has not been providing funds to the council to inspect facilities.
“By nature, this has an implication that it may promote proliferation of unlicensed clinics and also impacts on the conduct of the medical personnel who may need reinforcement of the code of conduct,” said Chimbali.
He said the ministry is striving to give the council resources to do the inspection.