Malawiâ€™s main referral hospital, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre, has only three theatres operating from a total of 11 due to shortage of anaesthetists.
Director of the Malawi School of Anaesthesia Cyril Goddia said in an interview on Tuesday, the development is affecting many patients with planned surgeries since each of the eight theatres normally treat on average between five and 10 people per day.
Goddia wrote the hospital last month, informing it about a decision to only carry out emergency and urgent surgeries until more anaesthetists are available.
Said Goddia: â€œThe three theatres that are up and running everyday are for emergencies only. Since we slowed down, I do not have the number of patients currently on waiting list, but the average number of people fluctuates depending on demand and availability of staff. We are yet to resume our normal schedules.â€
Ministry of Health spokesperson Henry Chimbali said since the matter applies only to QECH, the hospital administration is best placed to comment.
QECH chief nursing officer Tulipoka Soko, however, said the hospital is maintaining its schedule of operations.
â€œUnless otherwise advised by the hospital, scheduled operations are going on,â€ she said.