The public protector – Ombudsman Martha Chizuma has said there is need for an inquiry into arrangement in which Malmed Clinic in Blantyre allegedly set aside an hour on Sunday for the exclusive Covid-19 vaccination of the Indian community.
The arrangement with Blantyre District Health Office triggered angry reaction from Malawians who took to social media to complain of “racism.”
“I hope the leaders of the Asian community will take steps to ensure that this nonsense is avoided at all costs, as we Malawians will never allow it to happen on our soil,” social media influencer Stanley Onjezani Kenani posted on his Facebook page.
Another social media influencer, US-based Fatima Nkata questioned the arrangement.
“What phase of the roll out is this where race – and how deep your pockets are – determines your priority in receiving the jab? We are allowing this to happen in post-colonial Africa in the year 2021?” she wrote.
Nkata described the arrangement as “appalling.”
Malmed Clinic official defended the arrangement, saying the Asians had contributed money to pay workers allowance so that they can administer the jab on Sunday and in return offered exclusive vaccination of the Indian community the first one hour.
Minister of Health, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, ordered the arrangement to be stopped, saying the Indian-made Oxford/AstraZeneca doses is for “all Malawians and for free.”
Chiponda said “no special arrangement will be entertained, no allowance to the vaccinators is allowed.”
Ombudsman Chizuma has indicated she will investigate the matter.
“If indeed this is an arrangement that was made by Blantyre DHO with this clinic it is something that needs to be further inquired into to understand what exactly the thought process was to arriving at that arrangement . And I will do exactly that,” Chizuma indicated
Meanwhile, government says the country will have enough Covid-19 vaccine for everybody.
Secretary for Health, Charles Mwansambo, made the remarks on Friday at a press briefing on the update of the Covid-19 situation in the country.
So far, 15,326 Malawians have received the jab since the launch of the vaccination program.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization Country Representative for Malawi, Dr Rose Nonhlahla Dhlamini, has assured Malawians of the safety and efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine saying its benefits outweigh the risks.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :