By Chimwemwe Njoloma, MANA
Catholic Development Commission in Malawi (CADECOM) on Tuesday donated personal protective equipment (PPEs) and other sanitary materials to Lilongwe District Health Office (DHO) to help in the fight against COVID-19.
Lilongwe DHO has for months been calling upon stakeholders and well wishers to assist with PPEs so that frontline COVID-19 health care workers are protected when attending to patients.
Making the donation, CADECOM’s secretary, Emmanuel Khruza said the world has been attacked with Coronavirus and as such their partners in Australia, Caritas Internationalis, saw it necessary to respond to the pandemic in Malawi.
Caritas made a donation of items including the PPEs, sanitary materials and funding of public awareness campaigns being carried out in seven different dioceses of Lilongwe.
“When we received the donation, we sat as an organisation looking at the jurisdiction where we are working and thought of targeting districts that are at high risk,” Khruza.
“Out of the three districts of Salima, Mchinji and Lilongwe, we settled for Lilongwe which has been overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases.
“We are aware that each district has a district response plan hence our decision to donate the equipment to the DHO who will then channel it to the deserving centers.”
He said the donation is a compliment to what the hospital is already doing, adding that health workers have dedicated their lives to saving people’s lives and as such the PPEs will go a long way to save their own lives.
District Environmental Health Officer, Paul Chunga said the situation is worsening since the district registered the first case on April 2, 2020 as
of Monday, April 27, the district had a cumulative total of 754 cases with 20 deaths.
“As you can see, the cases are increasing at a faster rate for both rural and urban. The treatment site at Kamuzu Central Hospital and the holding room at Bwaila Hospital are now full.
“We are not relenting — we are going out for surveillance on daily basis. Five teams every day go out collecting samples, following up those on self-quarantine and self-isolation.
“As such Lilongwe is overwhelmed,” said Chunga, adding that the donation has brought a sigh of relief, giving hope that the fight against COVID-19 will be won.
Lilongwe DHO has been sensitising communities on hand washing both in communities as well as institutions like health facilities but Chunga said some facilities do not have the hand washing facilities.
“The equipment donated today will be shared with such health facilities so that hand washing should continue as one way of preventing COVID-19.
“The PPEs like face masks will really help the health care workers from contracting the disease,” he said.
According to Chunga, a total of 15 health care workers have already been infected and as such the PPEs will assist in protecting those that are working day and night serving the infected.
“As we continue calling upon stakeholders to donate more of the PPEs, we say thank you to CADECOM. This should not be the first and last because numbers are increasing each day and it needs concerted effort to fight this pandemic,” he said.
Currently, close to 300 health workers across the country have been infected with COVID-19 pandemic.
Courtesy of Caritas Internationalis, the K39 million worth of donation has been disbursed to seven other dioceses within Lilongwe.