Malawi joins the global community to commemorate World Pneumonia Day today with physician Dingase Dula stating that the respiratory disease is the most common cause of hospital admissions and deaths among both children and adults.
In an interview on Monday, the internal medicine registrar at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) said that on average, the hospital admits 10 to 25 adults daily suffering from different conditions She said half of the patients suffer from pneumonia or other related lung infection.
Dula said the main challenge faced in managing the disease is unregulated use of antibiotics to treat conditions such as a runny or blocked nose with over the counter drugs.
She said: “People take drugs such as amoxicillin and ciprofloxacin anyhow. In doing so, there is a lot of antibiotic resistance which is developing.”
Ministry of Health spokesperson Joshua Malango said besides antibiotic resistance, other challenges in the management of pneumonia arise when severe cases of the disease require oxygen and specialised care
Earlier this year, Malawi- Liverpool Wellcome Trust (MLW) supported the construction of the oxygen plant and high dependency unit at QECH to provide support to pneumonia patients who frequently require oxygen and expert management.
MLW senior clinical lecturer in critical care medicine Ben Morton said the HDU is instrumental in both providing direct patient care and for training clinicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals in the management of severe unstable conditions like pneumonia.