Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume has confirmed that the country’s hospitals are using low quality sutures, materials used to stitch wounds after surgical procedures.
He was responding to a question under Standing Order 69 posed by Dedza East member of Parliament (MP) Juliana Lunguzi, who is also Parliamentary Committee on Health chairperson, that Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) had run out of suturing materials
“The ones available are causing wounds to open up. As a result, patients are dying due to burst wounds from simple procedures. Is the ministry aware of this recent development?” he asked.
In his response, Kumpalume said it was not just sutures being used at KCH which were a problem, but all those supplied by Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST).
He told the House that sutures at KCH had not run out, but that surgeons were refusing to use the low quality ones which required suturing more times once the wound bursts.
“The challenge is that CMST cannot use single sourcing to procure the sutures because procedures do not allow that,” he said.
Kumpalume added that much as surgeons preferred Johnson and Johnson brands, CMST could not specify brands because procurement procedures do not allow that.
“The ministry called for a meeting where it was agreed that we would request from the ODPP [Office of Director of Public Procurement] to do single sourcing for the sutures while the hospitals look for local suppliers to buy on behalf of CMST,” he said. n