Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) is a major referral hospital that operates under the Ministry of Health in Malawi. QECH’s Orthopaedic Centre was opened in 1970 by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Malawi, Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda to produce and fit prosthetics and orthotics. In response to the needs of clients requiring wheelchairs, the Ministry of Health worked with the Norwegian NGO, SINTEF Health Research to establish local capacity to manufacture and repair wheelchairs. Wheelchair technicians were trained in basic and intermediate wheelchair services in 2006 and in 2007, the centre started to manufacture and provide wheelchairs.
The goal of QECH’s Orthopaedic Centre is to be a centre of excellence for high quality rehabilitation services, including the provision of prosthetics, orthotics, and appropriate wheelchair services to people with disabilities to enable them to achieve independence and an improved quality of life. The Orthopaedic Centre manufactures, assembles, and modifies wheelchairs. Locally made wheelchairs include three and four wheelers for adults and children. The centre also provides wheelchairs from Motivation, RoughRider, and other internationally based manufacturers as well as walking frames, standing frames, and crutches.