Another side of Bangwe clinic

It is around 3pm when we arrive at Bangwe Health Centre in Blantyre, where four suspected cholera cases recently spent days in an isolation tent before tests proved negative. Along a narrow tarmac road splitting the populous township, piling filth spills into drains and streams. Nearby, some residents sell ready-to-eat food and water repackaged in…

Overwhelming struggle with cholera

The power of partnerships was almost everything when overburdened health centres in Lilongwe were caught unawares by a seemingly relentless cholera outbreak, our Staff Writer JAMES CHAVULA writes. When a frail patient from Mtsiriza, a densely clustered slum in Lilongwe, arrived at Kamuzu Central Hospital, health workers knew that the capital city was under siege.…

Excluded cholera hotspot in the capital

As Malawi stares at another cholera outbreak, personified by a Lilongwe-based driver who died in a lodge in Blantyre this month, our Staff Writer JAMES CHAVULA details how widespread use of contaminated wells in the capital city exposes perilous neglect and inequalities that fuel the preventable public health crisis. It was a wet November morning…

‘Water for all is health for all’

In Mndewere Village in Salima, all footpaths lead one way—to a new borehole Mseka Nyongani, 35, terms “a well of life” in a cholera-prone rural setting. On June 6, 2018, the mother of three suffered the disease, which left her bedridden at Khombedza Health Centre for four days. Giving flashbacks of the outbreak, which changed…

Population vs your health

If you live in Malawi, did you know that government has only set aside K6 376 a year for your health needs? The National Statistical Office (NSO) released preliminary results of the 2018 Population and Housing Census yesterday which show there were about 17 563 749 people in the county when it was conducted in…

A good man in a dry town

It is 10am in Balaka town and women are scrambling to fill their buckets at a public tap sticking out of a brick fence. “Madzi ndi Moyo,” reads the writing on the wall. Yes, water is life. The women queuing for water have grown up hearing this slogan, but water has become scarce since Mpira…

‘I’m no celebrity, help me’

When Austin Luciano heard that government was going to shell K20 million to airlift famous comedian Eric Mabedi to India for a kidney transplant, he was excited. The swift response to the actor’s SOS sent a message to the 24-year-old kidney failure patient that the State realises its duty to ensure every person in need…

Dry valley turns to sunlight

In Kasisi, communities hit hard by chronic water-related disasters face untold uncertainties amid forecasts of floods on the southern tip of the country. The rural Malawians in the Shire Valley want out of hunger and poverty.  Many families rely on rainfall to water their crop fields, but it has become unpredictable and they scarcely reap…

Phwezi Girls’ K2m regret

A breakdown in a biogas plant at Phwezi Girls Secondary School has exposed huge savings learning institutions can make by churning out cooking energy from student’s faeces and food waste. Head teacher Zondiwe Nkhata fondly remembers the gas-making plant that would be saving almost K1.95 million a term if it were still functioning. Most boarding schools…

Malawi for speedy  climate change financing

As political divisions loom large at the global climate talks in Poland, Malawi has echoed least developed countries’ stance that there is no time to waste in the ending negotiations to reduce global warming and increase finance for tackling climate change. On Wednesday, Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining chief director Bright Kumwembe presented…

‘Energy finance  excluded majority’

The world will likely miss the target to provide sustainable energy and clean cooking for all unless most funds go towards uplifting populations left behind, experts have warned. Researchers and commentators at the global climate talks ending on Saturday in the coal-rich city of Katowice, Poland, are not just worried that financial flows do not…

Five things about COP24 so far

AsCOP24 draws to a close on Saturday, we unpack some of the burning issues about the eventful climate talks in a controversial setting. 1.    What is COP24? First things first. COP24 is one of numerous acronyms you must cope with when you are in the middle of global climate talks—and these stunners come more frequently than…

Greta ramps up climate rebellion

She is just 15 like Maria, a Standard Eight pupil at Demera PrimarySchool in Salima who often goes to class hungry because her family did notharvest enough. Ordinarily, Greta Thunberg’s agemate would have been completingsecondary school by the time she sits Primary School Leaving Certificate ofEducation (PLSCE) examinations later this year. However, the rural girl…

Enviromental Dept touts  district adaptation plans

Decentralised climateaction plans offer a solid launchpad for collective efforts and informationsharing to lessen impoverishing impacts of extreme weather shocks in ruralareas, a government official has said. Speaking during climate talks in Katowice, Poland, director of environmental affairs Tawonga Mbale said all 28 districts in the country require district adaptation plans which have transformed the…

UN chief calls for ambitious climate action

  Climate negotiations started on Monday in Katowice, Poland, with United Nations secretary general Antonio Gutteres calling for countries to demonstrate “more ambitious commitment” to defeat climate change. Thousands of world leaders, activists, financiers and captains of the private sector are attending the two-week United Nations Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP24)…

#YouthDecide2019: Making young majority count

In September 2016, the country’s oldest Cabinet minister Goodall Gondwe, using a walking stick, paced feebly to the podium at the opulent Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe to open a national conference on the impact of growth of young population on the future. The Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development spoke slowly and…

Regional group censures Malawi on NGO Bill

  Malawi has come under fire from a regional human rights defenders’ group for “waging war on the civil society”, saying the newly gazetted Non-Governmental Organisations Bill threatens to shrink their space. The group said the changes would also create a toxic environment which could render the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections not credible, free…

Good people, the Department of Culture has appallingly left Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC) in a state of decay-dwarfing its potential to generate millions every week. The unforgettable entertainment Mecca, which feted fun-starved pilgrims with finest acts from both within and abroad, cries for maintenance and care. The slumbering giant is falling apart. However, its slow,…