Feature By Bright Ndau
The business politics that has ensued between the World Wide Pharmaceuticals (WWP) and Fresenius over the request to have Fresenius extends its services to Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) to supply dialysis machine and its consumables is uncalled for and unacceptable as it is putting lives of 37 kidney patients in Lilongwe and the surrounding districts at risk.
Worldwide Pharmaceuticals was awarded a contract to service and maintain the 17 dialysis machines at K7.5 million per month translating to 90 million kwacha per year . The 17 machine were donated by Nipro, a Japanese based company (11), airtel Malawi (1 ) and Worldwide Pharmaceuticals (5) machines.
However despite having World Wide Pharmaceuticals owned by David Bisnowaty to service and maintain the 17 dialysis machines at Kamuzu Central Hospital, the 37 kidney patients in Lilongwe and surrounding, have been having challenges to have persistent services as the machines frequently break down.
While the patients being served by the KCH are having their lives under threat due to the frequently breaking down of machines being serviced by Worldwide Pharmaceuticals, Kidney patients who are being cared for in Blantyre at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) have uninterrupted dialysis machines running all the time under the contract between the QECH and Fresenius, a Germany based company that provides products and services for dialysis through its South African Based Branch.
Currently the government spends K400,000.00 per patient per month for these consumables alone for the machine besides K7.5 million costs to Worldwide Pharmaceuticals for the monthly service and maintenance of the dialysis machine. With a total of 37 patients who use KCH facilities government spends K14.8 million for consumables and K7.5m making it a total of 2.3 million monthly financial burden for the KCH to provide dialysis service to the Malawians under accessing this treatment in Lilongwe.
In 2014, Fresenius planted five dialysis machines at QECH. Comparatively QECH pays is the K400,000.00 per patient per month inclusive of consumables and the service of the equipment with the contract it has with Fresenius while KCH pay more with K7.5m for services and maintenance on the contract it has with Worldwide Pharmaceuticals according to Malawi Kidney Association. Fresenius has a similar contract with Mwaiwathu private hospital.
Though World Wide Pharmaceuticals has been maintaining the machines at KCH, their services have not been satisfactory according patients who undergo sessions with KCH. The Kidney foundation since 2017 has been engaging the KCH management over the appalling performance of the machines.
“In November this year, the situation became worse, and the decision was made that we should close the unit and subsequently transferred all our clients to QECH. The idea of closing the unit was reached so that we give Nipro agent WWP enough time to maintain/service their machines for better service delivery” says Kidney Association in their 30th December Media Statement.
“The Kidney patients who were transferred to Blantyre noted that Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital is using only 5 machines of a different brand of dialysis machines which are supplied by Fresenius South Africa which were installed in 2014 but have been performing up and above Par to date”, reads the statement signed by the Frank Mwale and Hudson Twea the Chair Person and Executive Secretary of the Kidney Association Malawi respectively.
“Upon our clients dialyzing on these machines, they felt good experience and they instantly gave us feedback,” continue to read the statement.
Following the empirical impressive performance of the dialysis machines supplied by Fresenius over a period of time since 2014, the Kidney Foundation, pressurized the KCH management and Ministry of Health to extend the services of Fresenius to KCH immediately.
The Ministry of Healthy through a lengthy assessments and process with various government agencies including PPDA a contract was extended and the request has been granted for Fresenius to extend its services to Kamuzu Central Hospital using the same existing contract with QECH.
It is believed that, “the machine supplied by Fresenius are, user friendliness, cost effectiveness, durable and has Effective back up support,” reads in part the statement.
However the extension of the contact has sparked business politics in which the former is allegedly throwing damaging old corruption cases in which Fresenius was fined in USA with the aim of pushing for the cancelling of the extension of the contract to KCH without taking consideration of the lives of the 37 patients who get the help from Kamuzu Central Hospital.