Government has bemoaned the inadequate number of specialist orthopedic surgeons to effectively deal with many casualties of accidents, including general problems that develop in the bones, joints and ligaments.
Speaking in Blantyre Tuesday during the launch of Malawi Fracture Care Country Initiative by OA Alliance Foundation, Health Minister Peter Kumpalume said the country has just nine orthopedic surgeons. Of these, only two are Malawians.
He said out of Malawi’s total gross domestic product (GDP) estimated at about $4.258 billion (according to the World Bank), only 8.4 percent is spent on health.
He said the health sector is facing huge financial challenges and needs support to deliver basic and essential packages, well below some international benchmarks.
Said Kumpalume: “The 2001 Abuja Declaration requires us to commit 15 percent of our annual budget to improve the health sector, but the truth is, we just don’t have the money.
“Malawi is experiencing an increased rate of road accidents, many people are being injured and require special care to get back to their feet and this has contributed significantly to the cost of health care in the country.”
OA Alliance Foundation regional director Jim Harrison said the organisation introduced the initiative to curb deformity, disability and unnecessary deaths.
“This is why together with our partners, we are planning to construct two new orthopedic theaters at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital which will be capable of doing joint replacement surgeries and we are also planning to construct Lilongwe Institute for Orthopedics and Neurosurgery at Kamuzu Central Hospital,” he said.
The initiative will focus on establishing trauma centres at strategic locations along the M1 road and piloting of professional pre-care ambulance services, training of orthopedic clinical officers and equipping district hospitals with appropriate equipment for fracture care.
OA Alliance Foundation is an international group of surgeons specialized in treatment of trauma and disorders of musculoskeletal system.