Over 90 patients are referred to Bwaila District Hospital in Lilongwe from Kamuzu Central Hospital for scanning and x-ray services after the break down of the largest referral hospital's computerised tomography (CT) scan machine and x-ray machine respectively.
The development has forced doctors to guess patient's ailments or ask them to seek diagnosis from other hospitals.
Chiyanjano Kazombo, spokesperson for Kamuzu Central Hospital said the machines broke down in January last year.
A CT scan detects, among others, tumors, calcifications, haemorrhage and bone trauma as well as scanning livers and kidneys whilst the x-ray machine checks on broken bones.
Kazombo said the x-ray machine has no developer, saying the Central Medical Stores has no developer in stock.
"The matter was reported to the ministry of Health some time back, they are working on it," said Kazombo.
She said the hospital helps an average of 150 a day for CT scanning and x-ray services, saying now that it is down, 90 of the patients are referred to Bwaila District Hospital for the services, bringing pressure to the district hospital.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Joshua Malango said the ministry is working on the matter.
"We are finalizing with the contractor on the maintenance contract issues, we are now finalizing the paper work," said Malango.
He could however not say why it has taken over a year to finalise the contractual issues on the maintenance of the life-saving machines.
One doctor said the lack of facilities at the hospital sometimes delays assessment of patients' ailments, adding that most doctors choose to treat people without waiting for pathology evidence.
"Most of the times doctors are just making diagnosis based on the patient's information because the process of referring every case to other facilities is sometimes tedious," said the doctor.
Sources said government bought two CT scans at $2 million in 2012 but only one was mounted at KCH while the other one is idle at the Ministry of Health's Kanengo warehouse in Lilongwe. The idle machine was to be installed at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre.