Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi (ELCM) Bishop, the Right Reverend Dr Joseph Bvumwe has said the plundered public resources in the Capital Hill cashgate scandal has affected development which could have assisted in eradicating poverty among the rural communities in the country.
The Bishop said this at Namasalima Primary School in Zomba over the weekend during the launch of a five-year health policy and income generating activities for communities in Traditional Authority Kuntumanji in the Eastern Region district.
He said much as non-governmental organizations and faith-based institutions are complimenting government’s efforts in fulfilling the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the billions of money lost in the cashgate scandal could have played a vital role in addressing some of the MDGs.
Bishop Bvumbwe described the cashgate as a tragedy for a country faced with a lot of economical and developmental challenges.
“The cashgate scandal has dealt a severe blow to the country. The money lost could have benefitted a lot of people in the villages through sustainable development. In addition, the health services delivery is inadequate, has deteriorated and this has impacted a lot on the communities.
“As a church, we are only complimenting government’s efforts in ensuring that people are living a healthy life. It is evident that the communities, irrespective of their denomination are suffering from various diseases and health related disorders particularly malaria, and HIV and Aids, among others,” he said.
He further added that by introducing income generating activities to the area, the faith-based organization wants to ensure that the rural communities are empowered and lead sustainable livelihood.
“God does not want us to suffer all times. We are here to empower you with treadle pumps, peanut butter grinding and oil pressing machines, and bakery machine, among other things. Our role as the church is to make sure that communities, irrespective of religion or creed are sustainably earning a living through what we have provided today,” said Bishop Bvumbwe.
The Bishop added that the launch of the health policy will act as the basis for the implementation of sustainable health programmes to address health problems of the church, community and the ELCM workplace.
Among other things, the health policy document encompasses promotion of microfinance activities like the village savings and loans associations and self help groups to facilitate adoption of appropriate preventive measures such as sleeping under an insecticide treated net (ITN) and curative measures.