Ministry of Health Accommodating Spinal Cord Injuries
The ministry of health says is working towards incorporating spinal cord injuries in its health care system so as to ensure that many patients are surving and recovering.
Deputy Minister of Health Enock Phale says most people with injuries of the spinal cord were not surviving before, unlike now when government is improving its health care system over the years.
Phale was reacting to concerns from Spinal Cord Injuries Association of Malawi (Siam) for improved welfare and treatment of spinal cord injuries survivors.
"These survivors have unique needs owing to the fact that their spinal cord is not functioning normally. Since this is an emerging condition in our system there is need to adapt our health care to accommodate spinal cord injuries.
“This is where interest groups like SIAM come in and we hope they will help to bring awareness on this condition to the community, patients and their families," said Phale.
He says the ministry does not allow use of catheters in health centres but is looking at the policy to see how best it can assist survivors in the rural areas.
Derreck Kumwenda, a spinal cord injury survivor says they are facing several social and economic challenges.
"It is difficult to find good health care in the country's health facilities due to absence of equipment and personel, on top of other infringement of our rights.
"There is a need for more physiotherapy and rehabilitation centers in atleast every district," said Kumwenda.
Siam interim chairperson Baylon Kondowe said many people with spinal injuries lack information on how they can get help regarding their challenges.
“Siam is an organisation that advocates for disability rights and improved health care for spinal injury survivors established in 2011 after noting the gaps in quality of services for the victims. It was motivated by Motivation Charity UK to fill the information gap for survivors of spinal cord injuries in the country,” he said.
Kondowe said since Malawi does not have specialised spinal cord unit a team of health care professionals involved in SCI care may including physicians, surgeons, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, the goal is to work together with the patient and his or family to ensure a health recovery and highest level of independence these services are available in all central health facilities.