Malawiâ€™s taxpayers are set to pay millions of kwacha to repair a medical autoclave equipment which the African Development Bank (AfDB) donated around 2006, but was never used.
The autoclave broke down after not being used for about six years. The Ministry of Health never used the machine which was stationed at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) because the hospital already had other functioning autoclaves at the time it was delivered.
This was done despite some district hospitals in the country lacking autoclaves which are used to sterilise hospital materials and instruments, including those used in theatres during operations on patients.
â€œThere was already an operating autoclave at the facility and it could have been a duplication of the service because this was procured as a back-up machine at the facility,â€ said Health Ministry spokesperson Henry Chimbali on Thursday when asked why government failed to use the machine for six years.
He could not specify the value of AfDB grant on the machine, saying he needed to retrieve past records.
Asked why government could not give the machine to other hospitals which lack autoclaves, Chimbali said: â€œThe machine is specifically made for high volume sites and at that particular time, similar facilities such as KCH had operational autoclaves, so even if it went to some of these facilities, it would still not be utilised.â€
KCH hospital director Noordeen Alide said the hospital is in the process of buying a new special transformer, water level sensors and thermo sensors from South Africa to maintain the donated autoclave.
Malawi Health Equity Network executive director Martha Kwataine on Wednesday described the expenditure to maintain the donated autoclave as wastage, saying the resources would have been used to meet other hospital needs if the machine was properly utilised.