allAfrica.com allafrica.com 29 Jan, 2021 09:15 am

Malawi: The 'Second Wave' of COVID-19 is Overwhelming Malawi

Malawi: The 'Second Wave' of COVID-19 is Overwhelming Malawi
Friday, January 29, 2021 — After being relatively spared by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Malawi is being swept by a new, fast-spreading wave of the disease that is quickly overwhelming the health care system. In the first few weeks of January, the number of positive cases has doubled every four to five days, and while the local capacity is already saturated, access to vaccines is likely a few months away. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) responded to a call by the health authorities in Blantyre and la

In Blantyre, Médecins Sans Frontières runs an oncological programme at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH), a facility where COVID-19 patients are also being hospitalised.The number of severe COVID-19 patients hospitalised at QECH has increased from 12 to 107 between 1 and 21 January, exceeding the hospital’s maximum capacity for COVID-19 patients, which is currently 80 patients.In addition to providing manpower, oxygen and technical support to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital’s COVID-19 wards, we are setting up an additional ward of 40 beds dedicated to COVID-19 patients.Doctors Without Borders (MSF) responded to a call by the health authorities in Blantyre and launched an emergency intervention to tackle the exponential increase in the number of severe patients in the area.

If the epidemic in the country follows the same pattern as in South Africa (where the peak of the second wave was reached after nine weeks), we can expect the number of severe patients in need of hospital care to increase unabated up to mid-February.Our second objective is to reduce mortality among the patients coming to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, which is the only public facility providing care for severe patients in Blantyre, where more than one third of the cases are reported.

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