Districts try energy officers

Energy experts are talking about decentralised solutions for unreached populations, but nearly all 28 districts have no energy officers to simplify the supply of ‘power to the people’. The vacancy filled by Estrida Nyirenda in Dedza two years ago remains a major pitfall in devolution of State powers to districts. To her shock, Dedza District…

Slow prep for zero HIV in women

HIV in Malawi has a woman’s face because she remains exposed to the virus, with girls aged 15-25 demonstrating almost four times the number of HIV cases among their male age mates, JAMES CHAVULA writes: A woman renamed Maria Mwale, in her 40s, feels women are lagging behind despite their iconic role in efforts to…

Beating vision  2020 politics

Our Staff Writer JAMES CHAVULA asks National Planning Commission (NPC) chief Thomas Chataghalala Munthali how Vision 2063 will beat flop Vision 2020’s shortfalls. Q : Are you surprised that Vision 2020 collapsed silently and no one really cared? A : Well, ‘surprised’ may be is a bit of an overstatement. One of the key things…

Taking HIV response beyond 90-90-90

Its 2020, the turning point in the global push to end the Aids pandemic. Although the country has surpassed 90-90-90 goals, declines in new infections remain too low. This is a call to renewed commitment towards HIV prevention, our features editor JAMES CHAVULA writes: Recently, 90-90-90 has become the theme song of the global push…

Towards a new vision

National Planning Commission (NPC) chief Thomas Chataghalala Munthali is already talking about Vision 2063 after Vision 2020 promised a lot and delivered too little. Our Staff Writer JAMES CHAVULA catches up with him to unpack his dream for the country’s youth-dominated population. Q : Why target 2063 when Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) require countries to…

Chilling side of vaccines

Long walks to get children vaccinated call for reliable energy and cooling for rural health centres, JAMES CHAVULA writes. In 2018, women near Kasungu National Park walked over 30 kilometres (km) to boost babies’ immunity to deadly measles, polio and other diseases prevented by vaccines. However, the Ministry of Health wants everyone not to travel…

Last gasp of vision 2020

Rural man expresses hopes, despair Millions of Malawians at midnight crossed over into 2020 in darkness, symbolising the shortage of power to turn the economy into a technologically-driven affair generating about K750 000 ($1 000) for an average citizen’s pocket every year. Such dark nights are an everyday story for Louis Richman, a farmer struggling…

‘Vaccines aren’t sins’

A landless woman has gone against stiff religious resistance to vaccines and medicines to save children, our Staff Writer JAMES CHAVULA writes. Edna Chimtondo, 49, used to expel health workers from her home near Kasungu National Park until seven years ago when her pregnant daughter needed blood replenishment to give birth safely. The mother-of-four belonged…

Malawi calls for increased ambition at COP25

As least developed countries hope for an uneasy deal at the global climate change talks in Spain, Malawi has called for increased ambition and financial contribution from developed nations to reduce the hardship of vulnerable communities. Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Bintony Kutsaira read the national statement at the 25th Conference of Parties…

A Malawian farmer worried about unpredictable rains and spates of dry spells has asked governments to invest in strategies that ramp up crop yield without harming soil as climate change hits harder. Ellen Matupi, 62, owns a 32-acre farm at Kafukule in Mzimba West, but only uses five acres because she cannot afford farm inputs.…

Private firms overtaken  by climate catastrophes

Demands are rising at the global climate talks in Madrid, Spain, that action to lessen the frequency and severity of floods, drought and other extreme weather events will be futile unless the private sector invests more in strengthening community resilience. When floods displaced nearly 90 000 Malawians in March, private businesses joined government and non-governmental…

Malawi backs Africa’s special demands

African nations are petitioning hard for developed countries to contribute more funds towards cushioning the least polluting continent from its unique vulnerabilities to climate-related disasters Demands for recognition of Africa’s special circumstances remain sticky at the global climate change negotiations in Madrid, Spain, a year after the debate was suspended in Katowice, Poland. Yesterday, Mohamed…

Schoolboys defend girls’ rights

To kick-start the 16 Days of Activism to combat gender-based violence, our Staff Writer JAMES CHAVULA unravels how boys at Chilanga Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) in Kasungu are setting the pace for male involvement in creating a safer world for girls and women. To Isaac Mzembe, child marriage in Malawi constitutes the most horrible…

Tackling latent TB in prisons

Mass screening held at Chichiri Prison in the past fortnight has indicated how skin tests detect TB cases likely to go unnoticed during conventional tests, our staff writer JAMES CHAVULA writes. When Chikumbutso Mwenye took a skin test to determine whether he was infected with tuberculosis, the examination revealed a hard swelling on his arm.…

Healthcare spending to hit 15% by 2030

Malawi’s healthcare spending is expected to increase to 15 percent of the national budget by 2030, Minister of Health Jappie Mhango has told the International Conference on Population and Development in Nairobi, Kenya. With K101 billion trickling to the life-saving ministry, the minister yesterday told delegates to the conference that the allocation will increase. He…

Girls go dirty for clean money

Superstores’ shelves in Malawi are sagging under the weight of imported farm produce as the local harvest is widely perceived as low and unattractive. However, 45 girls at war with youth unemployment and risky sexual behaviour in Mzuzu are confronting the agricultural economy’s appetite for foreign goods. “It hurts us that supermarkets import food crops…

Dwarf bananas, big bunches

As maize yield keeps dwindling due to erratic rains and degraded soils, farmers in Nkhata Bay are reverting to bananas to generate income for buying food and other basics. Mpamba and Chikwina residents in the hilly shoreline districts have a long history of growing bananas, but yields keep falling due to frequent episodes of drought…