Malawi Government has expressed worry with high numbers of trauma and injury cases mainly due to road accidents.
Acting Deputy Director responsible for Emergency Response and Disaster Management in the Ministry of Health, Dr Yankho Luwe, said on Wednesday during the first-ever National Trauma Consultative Forum in Lilongwe that the injuries have a high mortality rate with 32 per cent than other diseases.
“in an effort to respond to this urgent need, the ministry instituted the Emergency Response and Disaster Management Division, under the Curative and Medical Rehabilitation Services Directorate, to develop Policies, Standards and Protocols for effective emergency response and critical care services,” she said.
In 2021, the Ministry launched the first ever Emergency and Critical Care Strategy which provides guidance to improve the emergency and critical care services in the country.
Of great importance, she said, is the setting up of prehospital emergency care where emergencies are responded to where they have taken place as well as taking care of those injured in health facilities.
Malawi Orthopaedics Association (MOA) President, Maureen Sabawo said deaths occurring due to injuries in the country are more than those of malaria, Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS.
“We have a huge burden of trauma and injuries in the country from road traffic accidents specifically from Kabaza, the motorcycle,” she said.
According to her 60% road accidents happening in the roads of Malawi, 49 per cent are due to the motorcycles popularly known as Kabaza.
Sabawo added that there is also an economic burden due to injuries as the country loses three percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 10 per cent in treating the cases.
She attributed the rising in cases due to shortage of staff, the system where they do not have exact data in the cases as the Road Traffic Department, hospitals and the Police give different data as well as financial constraints.
Sabawo believed that the outcome from the discussions will help address challenges and reduce cases of trauma and injuries in the country.
Kabaza Association of Malawi President Chimwemwe Mangani said as an association they are taking part in ensuring that accidents occurring from motorcycles as well as bicycles are reduced.
“We sensitize our members to always adhere to road traffic rules as motorists do,” he said.
Mangani also said the motorcycle riders are encouraged to put on helmets otherwise they will face their bylaws.
However, Globally, the magnitude of injuries accounts for 4.4 million annual deaths.