Resurgence of new Covid-19 cases in countries such as South Africa and Zambia has sent shockwaves among medical doctors in the country who have warned Malawi to better manage the local situation to avoid a crisis.
The sentiments come against the background of Zambia reporting 558 cases on June 1 and South Africa registering of several officers to their previous positions.
The Ombudsman also faulted the transfer of former BWB director of finance Henry Bakuwa to Malawi Gaming Board as irregular.
However, Chizuma said she could not direct that Bakuwa return to BWB as he testified that it was a toxic environment; hence, would not want to give it a second go. She has since advised Bakuwa to personally regularise his recruitment at the Gaming Board.
In the report, the Ombudsman noted that most decisions were unilaterally made by Chaweza as both the board of directors and management could not produce minutes of purported board or management meetings that made resolutions to transfer or demote several staff.
At TC, the Ombudsman found that the institution’s former deputy CEO Levi Phelani was irregularly appointed by former president Peter Mutharika contrary to the Constitution and the Tobacco Industry Act. She also observed that “the position of the DCEO does not exist on the establishment of the Commission and is not necessary to the commission”.
The investigation also found that one Emily Banda Egolet was appointed as TC director of human resources and administration without interviews or the involvement of the board.
The Ombudsman also ordered the termination of employment contracts of junior officers who were recruited without attending interviews at the TC. However, a majority of the senior officials had already been fired by the new TC board.
In another development, the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) has reported to the Office of the Ombudsman that its
infections. South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa has since officially announced a third wave in his country and unveiled level two precautionary measures, including limiting indoor gatherings to 100 and outdoor gatherings to 250.an average of 3 745 daily new
In separate interviews yesterday, Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 Co-chairperson Dr Wilfred Chalamira Nkhoma, Society of Medical Doctors (SMD) president Victor Mithi, and Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (Kuhes) infectious disease expert professor Adamson Muula said Malawi needs to enhance prevention measures to safeguard against the third wave rather than focusing on the preparedness of the health system.
Chalamira Nkhoma expressed fear that some people have decided to forgo the preventive measures following a reduction in the number of new registered cases.
The Covid-19 Task Force co-chairperson acknowledged the new measures announced in South Africa, saying Malawi already introduced them in April this year, and there is need for people to be observing the measures to avert any worse situation.
Said Chalamira Nkhoma: “People should continue adhering to the measures because it doesn’t matter which variant we are dealing with, the preventive measures are still needed. Because our numbers are low, people have become careless in following the measures.
“We continue to call on Malawians to continue observing the laws and if some are breaking the laws, let the law enforcers take action.”
On his part, Muula also said Malawi needs to start focusing on enforcing prevention measures, rather than looking at the readiness of the health system.
He said: “I doubt that we would be able to contain it if it came because of what we are doing. There is a lot of complacency—no masking, no hand washing. Even cross-border trade with countries like Zambia can be stopped, we need not to take chances.”
Muula called for stricter prevention measures before the country even considers closing schools.
“Let’s all come together and prevent it from coning, because when it does, we may not contain it,” he said.
But Mithi termed the situation a crisis, saying Malawi should start preparing now before it is too late.
He said a crisis is imminent and the health cluster should start preparing—make resources available to avoid the challenges experienced during the second wave when hospitals struggled with inadequate oxygen cylinders, drugs and spaces.
Said Mithi: “It’s just a matter of days, the third wave will be in Malawi. We should ensure that as soon as we see the cases increasing, these materials should be available so that no one should be dying as a result of the absence of such materials. We need to put our heads together so that the community understands what we are dealing with.”
He said vaccination challenges should also be resolved, especially that the other batch of the vaccine is not in the country despite people being due for the second jab.
Said Mithi: “I would say we are prepared but not satisfactorily, we still have deficits because there has been a lot of relaxation, even in hospitals. We have seen the closing of facilities that were supposed to handle Covid-19.
“It means when the third wave hits, we will be going back to the drawing board which should not be the case. Previous mistakes may help us improve. The budget does not have enough money because most of the things are consumables.”
According to Mithi, the impact of the second wave was lessened by the support of private citizens in raising funds for needed equipment in health facilities.
“I don’t know if that would happen now. We are going towards where we may solely depend on the government, I don’t think we are ready financially,” he said.
On April 20 2021, Minister of Health Khumbize Chiponda announced measures restricting indoor gathering of people to 100 and 250 for outdoors.
On Monday, Chiponda, who also co-chairs the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, announced that beginning June 1 (yesterday), government will no longer be supporting travellers from South Africa to Malawi. At least 666 people arrived from South Africa on Monday under the facilitation of government.
She said: “Noting that consistent with the Comes-EAC-Sadc Tripartite recommendation to ease restrictions and to allow free travel and trade the Republic of South Africa has facilitated free travel and trade to and from South Africa without support from our mission offices, it is clear that supporting travellers from RSA to Malawi is no longer necessary.
“I would, therefore, like to advise the general public that the Government of Malawi will no longer assist travellers coming in from RSA with clearance and escort services with effect from 1 June 2021.”
Meanwhile, government says results of the Covid-19 samples collected at Salima Sugar Company after arrival of some Indian nationals are not yet out because they were sent to South Africa by road.
The samples left Malawi on May 4 and in South Africa, the Centres for Disease Control laboratory in KwaZulu Natal had many samples from other countries.
Chalamira Nkhoma could not say why the samples were sent by road, but said they are now in the queue for testing, and results are expected by end of this week.
Cumulatively, by Monday, Malawi had recorded 34 338 cases including 1 155 deaths.