Malawi govt given 2 days to supply protective gear in hospitals or face doctors strike

Human Resources for Health (HRH) Coalition has given the Malawi government up to Friday this week to procure and supply personal protective equipment (PPE) in all public health facilities or face nationwide strike of frontline workers in the coronavirus ‘warzone’.

Simeza (middle) says government should provide health workers with protective wear by Friday or else they will down tools.- Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

The coalition argues that a lack of or shortages of PPE in public health facilities are leaving doctors, nurses and other frontline workers dangerously ill-equipped to care for coronavirus diseases (Covid-19) patients.

Ironically, the ultimatum comes barely a day after it was alleged that Beautify Malawi Trust – a trust established and owned by First Lady Gertrude Mutharika – tapped into the funds meant for the fight against Covid-19.

HRH Coalition chairperson Shouts Simeza told journalists in Lilongwe on Tuesday that with eight confirmed Covid-19 cases in Malawi, healthcare workers are increasingly anxious, fearing they could expose not only themselves to the virus, but their patients and families as well.

Simeza added that a lack of or shortages of PPE in public health facilities are leaving doctors, nurses and other frontline workers dangerously ill-equipped to care for COVID-19 patients.

“This [procurement and supply] process should be done as early as yesterday. We cannot go to approach patients now without personal protective equipment. To patients seeking our services, I urge them not to dare come close. We are infectious because we don’t have protective equipment,” he said.

“As a Coalition, we have made a demand that these equipment should be made available to every health worker by Friday. We deserve to be protected but also to protect the public.

“We know logistically we may have some issues, but if we network very well, we should be able to achieve this. We want by Friday, every health worker to be protected. If this doesn’t happen, we are legally protected to withdraw our services,” Simeza emphasized.

He said the coalition has also demanded an upward adjustment of risk allowance from K1, 800 to 70 per cent of each health worker’s monthly salary considering that minibus fares have not been reduced in response to reduction in fuel prices.

And when the Nyasa Times reporter demanded an answer on whether the doctors’ decision to hold go on a nationwide strike would not be construed as defying President Peter Mutharika’s call for patriotism, the Medical Doctors Union of Malawi’s president Dr Collins Mitambo said the coalition is simply reminding government of its duty to the healthcare workers.

“We are just reminding government on what to do on Covid-19. We were supposed to have done it long time ago. These things were supposed to be done two weeks ago. For the resources, it falls back on preparations.

“We are grateful that His Excellency has shown willingness to make resources available for addressing these challenges. We know that resources are there to address our concerns,” said Mitambo.

On the other hand, Simeza wondered whether there is enough reason for the healthcare workers to risk their lives to demonstrate their patriotism to government and the populace in general.

“Should we risk our lives because of patriotism? If we are not safe, we are going to demand for safe working environment. We will remain patriotic and available. We will remain in the forefront in the fight against this pandemic,” he said.

Health workers across the country are ‘taking risks’ when it comes to their own health due to the ‘inadequate’ protection they are being provided with.

Over 1 360 000 people worldwide have been infected with Covid-19 which has killed over 76 000 people across the globe.

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Mtete
Mtete
1 year ago

Honestly Boma! You are a disappointment. You are able to make huge donations to briefcase charities but unable minimise risk to our hospital staff by buying them protective gear. Shame on you socalled ministerial Committee on Covid 19. Ntchito kunyambita ma allowance.
Inu a Mhango, tachitani za kupsa for a change instead of making silly directives about Voter Registration, MEC responsibility. After all medical practitioners request for protective gear is very much part of your responsibility.

c

Pachalo
Pachalo
1 year ago

Imagine if it was the President and his cabinet on the front line…it would gave been PPE galore. They would buy the most expensive masks and personal protective equipment! Come Friday is there is the usual dillydallying health workers will stay at home!

Timve Ziti
Timve Ziti
1 year ago

These people are humans not robots. They need the highest protection urgently so that they save more lives. They are endangering their own lives plus the patients they care for and their own families if they are not well protected. Chonde chonde.

Thats Me
Thats Me
1 year ago

MK1,800.00 (thats a mere MK60.00 per day) as a risk allowance is simply insane. No wonder the president did not mention a figure to hoodwink Malawians that he is a caring president. MK50,000.00 was a better suggestion. The resources are there because not long ago we were told that our economy is good enoughnto support 32 member cabinet ndiye pasakhale zakuti tilibe ma resources apa ayi. Munatiwuza kuti muli nawo and thats why there is lots of extravagancy in the government.

Mulopwana
1 year ago

They ve a point. Everyone need safe working environment. I mean EVERYONE HERE.

N one
1 year ago

Ironically, Beautify Malawi has taken K1,000,000,000.00 (yes, that is one billion malawi kwacha) from the covid-19 funds. I wish I was a thief!

Chilungamo Nchabwino
Chilungamo Nchabwino
1 year ago

Amen to that. These medical professionals are men with families that expect them to return home after work. Failing to provide safety gear would be equal to asking them to sacrifice their lives for the rest of us. We want our medical professionals to survive this plague along with us. So start begging for funding and donation as this is all that you are good for.

Yaya Mfiti
1 year ago

Omwe ali ndi mphamvu zoyimitsa chisankho ayimitse chisankho chopanda ntchito chomwe chikubwerachi mpaka 2024 pomwe padzakhale chisankho chovomerezeka ndi dziko lonse la Malawi ndalamazo zipite ku zipatala kuti madotolo athu agwire bwino ntchito yolimbana ndi mulili umenewu , .Za nzeru zomwe aMalawi ozindikira angapange ndi zimenezi basi osati kuchitira mwina ayi chifukwa mulili uwu utichita zoopsa ngati sitisamala .

Pewani
Pewani
1 year ago
Reply to  Yaya Mfiti

kambani zogwirizana ndi nkhani. Ngati mukupindura ndi chipani cholamula sikuti tonse tikudya za chipani. Ndipo enafe sitnayambe tadyapo za anthu a ndale. Timagwira ntchito ndikumadya thukuta lathu. Ndiye musatinyasepo apa.

DPP is Doomed
DPP is Doomed
1 year ago

Beautify Malawi has taken out a chunk of money that was supposed to be used in the fight for covid~19. Way to go DPP. DPP really cares about Malawians. I hope they all catch the disease and die.

Kambewa Chisale
1 year ago

Why should you risk yourself , your family, and also others. I do recall Mama JB mentioned some time back that the government was not prepared and serious to fight coronavirus. Some people made shit remarks. Just know that zigwe pano Ndi za Tonse.

Kanyimbi
Kanyimbi
1 year ago

Komanso chomwe adziwe a DPP ndi choti, Matendewa akakupwapulani, tonse tipezana ku zipatala za mdziko mommuno. Ndi pomwe mudziwe kuti ku zipatala za boma kuli Panado yekha. Palibe zokwera ndege mukudwala kapena mutafa kupita ku RSA popeza kumeneko anatseka. The God’s Must be Crazy, we are all equal before the cross of Jesus.

Kambewa Chisale
1 year ago
Reply to  Kanyimbi

Yeeee no running to South Africa for medical treatment. You must go to Kamuzu Central hospital

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