Poor leadership at the Health Ministry in Malawi has led to the current rapid increase in cholera cases which has led to calls for a state of emergency by the Leader of Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa.
Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda and her officials knew that cholera was to wreck havoc if uncontrolled but failed to effectively plan the fight opting to corruptly benefit pals through untendered emergency drug procurement.
Failed leadership, corrupt procurement and quest for allowances has left 620 people dead and over 18 000 people are currently sick.
Now Khumbidze Chiponda says the Malawi government has diverted Covid-19 donor funds to employ more nurses and patient assistants to fight the cholera outbreak.
In October 2022 the Ministry of Health unveiled a six-point National Cholera Response Plan budgeted at K21 billion to eradicate the pandemic within two months before the rains start.
The plan failed flat leaving officials with an egg on their faces causing the public to turn against President Lazarus Chakwera for failing to lead the country.
Chiponda further discloses that in the last seven days, Blantyre has registered 792 cases while Lilongwe has 506 cases, and expects the figure to rise by the end of Tuesday.
Kandodo Chiponda who is also co-chairperson of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 and Cholera said the public feedback on the postponement of the reopening of schools in Lilongwe and Blantyre is a positive development in the fight against cholera.
Chiponda said the feedback indicates that Malawians are closely following what the task force is doing.
On Monday, the task force announced the decision to delay the opening of schools in the two cities, however the announcement received public backlash.
The task force co-chairperson has backed the decision while acknowledging the announcement was made late, when other students had already left for their respective schools.
She said: “We need two weeks to ensure schools in those districts have proper and safe water and sanitation facilities to help contain the further spread of the outbreak.”
“We appeal to men to be exemplary and lead their families to get the cholera vaccine.”
The minister emphasised on the need for preventive measures to contain the outbreak saying that will go a long way to ease the pressure on health workers who are working tirelessly to help those that have already been infected.
Taking her turn, NyaLonje stressed that her ministry recognises the disruption the decision poses to the school calendar and has put on measures to ensure there is distance learning targeting the students in the two cities.
Four cabinet ministers are briefing the media in Lilongwe, on the decision by the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 and Cholera to suspend the opening of schools in Blantyre and Lilongwe due to the cholera outbreak.
Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, Minister of Education Agnes NyaLonje, Minister of Labour Vera Kamtukule, Minister of Water and Sanitation Abida Mia and Minister of National Unity Timothy Mtambo were present at the briefing in Lilongwe.