Director of Health and Social Services for Blantyre, Dr Gift Kawalazira says his office will no longer test patients with mild COVID-19 symptoms due to inadequate test kits.
The director told the press Wednesday in Blantyre that suspected cases of COVID 19 will only be advised to embark on self-isolation for 14 days at home.
“Our concentration will now be on people who are in risk category and all hospitals in Blantyre have been advised to create space for COVID-19 patients,” said Kawalazira while acknowledging the challenges associated with lack of tests kits.
“The challenge with this is that we will be operating in the dark as it will be difficult for us to test everyone as we were doing in the past bearing in mind the current massive community transmission of the disease,” he added.
He said that some of the laboratories are down and that some kits are reserved for critically ill patients.
“All our laboratories such as College of Medicine, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Malawi Liverpool Welcome Trust are now down and we reserved some kits that will be used to test critically ill patients,” Kawalazira disclosed.
He said admission of critical patients will only be done at Kameza Isolation Center for now while others will be advised to self-isolate at home.
He said Blantyre District Health Office will lobby for funds to ensure continued operation of COVID-19 response apart from engaging community structures and influential leaders to contain further spread of the pandemic in the district.
Meanwhile, the district has recorded 485 cases, including 33 health workers and six deaths as the District Health Office has traced 1,547 COVID 19 suspected cases.
“Other challenges include inadequate resources for dissemination of results and tracing is not as vibrant as it used to be due to resources, both human and financial, especially following the beating up of environmental health staff in Ndirande,” he said.
Following the incident, the office stopped handling COVID-19 related burials as the office only disinfects the dead body and family members only given secondary Personal Protective Equipment to bury their loved one.