Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre is facing shortage of medical staff, the hospital’s principal nursing officer Christina Mbiza has said.
Mbiza was speaking on Monday when Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) donated various items to patients in the hospital’s paediatric and female wards. QECH is the country’s largest referral hospital.
Mbiza said the situation is making it difficult for the hospital to provide optimum services to patients.
She said: “Some of the challenges we face as a hospital include shortage of nurses and doctors. Previously, we had a ratio of one nurse to 10 patients but now the ratio is 1:30 while for doctors it is 1:100 from 1:20.
“To us, this is a big challenge because we are failing to serve our patients well.”
Mbiza thanked Macra for supporting patients who could not be with their families during the festive season, saying such visits ease their pain.
Making the donation, director of finance Ben Chitsonga said Macra set aside K15 million for donations to four hospitals namely QECH, Mangochi, Nkhotakota and Rumphi during the festive season.
“As Macra, we wanted to donate to the four hospitals covering the Southern, Eastern, Central and Northern regions,” he said.
In September 2018, Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) executive director George Jobe faulted the government for delaying employment of 1 000 medical workers as indicated in the 2018/19 financial budget, saying it is worsening the shortage of health workers at the public health facility.
Government statistics show that Malawi has three nurses per 10 000 people. That is well below the World Health Organisation recommendation of 10 nurses for every 10 000 people.