President Lazarus Chakwera last night awarded 38 healthcare workers under the Zikomo Presidential Awards for outstanding service in the past year, especially in the frontline of fighting Covid-19.
The President announced the awards during his second radio address on August 1 2020.
During the awards ceremony held at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe, Chakwera said the celebration of his administration’s first year in office could not be complete without honouring healthcare workers.
He said: “We cannot clap for ourselves without first clapping for them [healthcare workers]. It is their work of national preservation that made our work of national development possible.
“By fighting off the pandemic, our health workers made Malawi safe and stable enough for my administration to successfully launch the AIP [Affordable Inputs Programme] and produce the largest harvest of maize on record.”
In his address, the President challenged people to embrace the change his government is putting into effect and reject the spirit of negativity which, he said, “some people are in the habit of invoking”.
Speaking earlier, Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said that as the country is going into the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, government is preparing to face the challenge head on.
She said her ministry has already paid for oxygen and that instead of sending Covid-19 samples to South Africa for sequencing, Malawi will soon start doing the sequencing. She said a team is currently undergoing training on the process in South Africa.
Chiponda also said that to deal with fake Covid-19 test certificates, which were on the increase, a digital certification of results has been introduced.
Speaking when he introduced the awards last August, Chakwera said the Zikomo Presidential Award will be a token of thanks to be given every quarter to five of the most dedicated health workers selected through the nominations of their peers around the country in recognition of their service.
Malawi is currently drifting into the third wave of Covid-19 with cases on the rise. The surge in cases is coming at a time the country has also run out of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine doses.
Yesterday, the Public Health Institute of Malawi reported 75 new cases of Covid-19, making a cumulative 5 629 cases.
There are currently 1 184 active cases with 46 admitted to treatment centres. The report said four were discharged yesterday against 11 admitted.
Since reporting the first Covid-19 cases on April 2 2020, Malawi has conducted 264 810 tests.