The media might be accused of sensationalising issues, but this is what doctors are telling us: If your family member needs an operation or has fainted and is being rushed to Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH), you have a reason to be worried because there is a drug and equipment crisis at this facility.
The crisis is deepening and becoming dangerous by the day with the referral hospital running out of several crucial life-saving drugs, including adrenaline and noradrenalin—used to resuscitate patients in state of unconsciousness, Nation on Sunday can reveal.
And not just these life-saving drugs are out of supply, bottles used to store blood samples, too, are out of supply meaning the hospital cannot, save for malaria samples, diagnose any disease that require blood samples, hospital administration has further sounded out.
Medical sources at the hospital this week painted a gloomy picture, warning that their pleas to authorities are going unheeded while lives are being put at stake.
During a meeting with Asian businesspersons who, on Tuesday donated drugs worth K10 million, the medical personnel also opened up on the situation, revealing how KCH has run out or have in short supply essential drugs.
The hospital staff, however, singled out the running out of adrenaline used to resuscitate patients as more worrying.
“Just a week ago, a young girl suffered a mysterious disease, she needed urgent blood tests but stayed for days before we could do so because we had run out of blood collection bottles,” said a staff member speaking on condition of anonymity as she is not mandated to speak to the media.
KCH spokesperson Mable Chinkhata confirmed in an interview after the donation, that the hospital has requested Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) to urgently supply the drugs, but has been told the trust has also run out of stock.
Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) executive director George Jobe said it was worrying that the drug situation continues to receive a lukewarm response from government and other stakeholders.
Said Jobe: “This is always our concern that health seems not to be a priority in government spending. If this is true, then the situation is very worrying. And this is why we recently asked Parliament not to rush accepting the revised budget unless the commitments to the drug situation were clear.”
Both CMST chief executive officer Feston Kaupa and spokesperson Herbert Chandilanga pledged on Tuesday to respond to a questionnaire the institution requested, but had not done so by press time.
Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume could not be reached, but chief health services officer Charles Mwansambo said while the ministry was aware of some drug shortages, the matter should be handled by CMST. n