Some referral health facilities in the country have appealed for support of oxygen plants to help in treatment of Covid-19 patients.
The hospitals, Zomba Central Hospital (ZCH), Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) and Mzuzu Central Hospital (MCH), also say they have high vacancy rates, lack of drugs and inadequate space for drug stores, among some challenges affecting quality service delivery.
ZCH principal anesthetist Dr Delia Mabedi, QECH hospital director Samson Mndolo and MCH director Francis Sinyiza raised the concerns in separate interviews.
Mabedi said the hospital needs additional staff to help provide quality service to patients.
She said: “Currently, we don’t have a chief hospital administrator, among other key positions.
“We are grateful to the Global Fund for assisting us with some human resource and laboratory storage boxes, among others, but we appeal for further support where possible.”
ZCH caters for Mulanje, Phalombe, Machinga, Chiradzulu, Mangochi and Balaka.
On his part, Mndolo said the hospital needs technicians and clinicians, infrastructure and other essential medication to achieve quality service delivery.
He said: “The facility is now overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients who need oxygen to the point that the gas plant we have is proving inadequate.”
According to Mndolo, QECH caters for Nsanje, Chikwawa, Neno, Mwanza and Blantyre districts.
Sinyiza said Global Fund installed solar panels that have enhanced service delivery by dealing with power outages. He said the facility lacks some diagnostics in the laboratory.
“Presently, samples are sent to Lilongwe at UNC Project at a cost and this is unsustainable,” he said.
Like his Zomba Central Hospital counterpart, Sinyiza expressed concern with limited resources to finance the procurement of oxygen cylinders from suppliers to support Covid-19 patients.
“Each Covid-19 patient uses two gas cylinders daily, pegged at K63 000. We need oxygen gas plants, especially this time when there is a surge in Covid-19 cases that are claiming lives at a very fast rate,” he said.
Eight ZCH staff tested positive during the first wave of Covid-19 from April to December 2020 while 81 staff tested positive at MCH which caters for people from Chitipa, Karonga, Rumphi, Mzimba and Nkhata Bay districts.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Joshua Malango said the ministry is doing all it can to address the challenges in the health facilities.
Recently, the Global Fund, which has been funding malaria, tuberculosis and HIV and Aids care in the country, intervened in Covid-19 by providing drugs and other essentials.