Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda has said her ministry is taking robust measures to slow the spread of coronavirus as 223 health workers have since been affected by the virus pandemic in the country.
Chiponda has disclosed that Treasury has released K90 million for risk allowances for Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) and Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) healthcare workers.
“There are allowances for health workers who are on front line because there was a concern from the public that we are not taking care of them,” said Chiponda.
Chief of Health Services in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Charles Mwansambo, said the virus pandemic is further reducing numbers of health workers as those infected and working on-shifts have to go into quarantine.
The ministry of health initially encountered challenges in acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE)which made it difficult for workers to properly protect themselves from infection.
Healthcare workers rely on PPE to protect themselves and their patients from being infected and infecting others.
But shortages are leaving doctors, nurses and other frontline workers dangerously ill-equipped to care for Covid-19 patients, due to limited access to supplies such as gloves, medical masks, respirators, goggles, face shields, gowns, and aprons.
Minister Chiponda said government has sourced the PPEs and supplies will be arriving in the country from this week.
“We have had challenges in resources including allowances , PPEs and testing kits, reception of returnees.It mean we have to hit the ground running and implement immediate solution to solve these challenges,” she said.
Minister Chiponda said her Ministry has embarked on expanding of reception sites for returnees mainly using Nalikule and Machinga TTC.
She said community engagement is underway with communities around facilities that will be used to ensure safety of returnees and communities around those centres.
Chiponda said the ministry is increasing treatment sites, acquiring new ventilators as oxygen is very important for care of severe case.
She also said the country will receive 35 000 test kits by the end of the week.
Health Rights activist, Maziko Matemba, has since called for more support with necessary equipment to protect health workers and the patients.
“These cases are increasing because of lack of adequate protective equipment [PPEs] which are key to protect health workers which has to be prioritised at all cost and if not checked will have negative impact to the COVID-19 response as we might have few health workers on duty to support the patients,” warns Matemba.
In the past two weeks, Malawi a landlocked country in southeastern Africa has seen a spike in virus cases by over 40% with the number of confirmed cases rising to over 3000.
The sharp rise in the number of cases has been attributed to the June 23 court-sanctioned presidential election re-run where thousands of Malawians ignored health measures and social distancing rules to attend political rallies.
Experts also blame people, who returned from foreign countries mainly from South Africa responsible for the spike in pandemic cases. As of July 12, more than 1,900 people arrived in the country form, South Africa.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :