By Duncan Mlanjira
In his Tuesday’s situation report, co-chairperson of the presidential taskforce on COVID-19, Dr. John Phuka reports that in the past 24 hours, Malawi has registered no new deaths from the nine new cases.
And they are 13 new recoveries from the cumulative number of 3,603 recovery cases.
The nine new cases are locally transmitted infections — five from Blantyre, two from Mchinji, and one each from Lilongwe and Mulanje.
Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 5,630 cases including 176 death and of these cases, 1,133 are imported infections and 4,497 are locally transmitted.
The country has so far conducted 46,857 tests in 45 COVID-19 testing sites of which 107 tests have been done in the past 24 hours.
Dr. Phuka says as the country continues the fight against COVID-19, he emphasizes on the importance of eating a healthy diet, free from contamination, saying what people eat and drink can affect their body’s ability to prevent, fight and recover from infections.
“Therefore, I want to encourage everyone to eat a diversified diet comprising of six food groups as this associated with the best immune status.
“As we improve our diets during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to practice proper food safety and food hygiene to reduce risk of infections from contaminated food.
“Therefore, eat clean food and always wash hands before eating and before feeding children. Do the same after visiting toilet.”
He also said it is also important to stay physically active during this time of COVID-19 pandemic since regular physical activity benefits both the body and mind and it is associated controlled high blood pressure, well-managed weight and reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and various cancers.
All these conditions can increase susceptibility to COVID-19. Eat healthy and stay safe,” says Dr. Phuka.
Meanwhile, in his response to State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament on Monday, Leader of the Opposition, Kondwani Nankhumwa commended frontline COVID-19 health care workers for their hard work and dedication in saving lives and helping the country to “flatten the curve”.
He also paid tribute to the health personnel who died while on duty due to COVID-19, saying their deaths have not been in vain.
He appealed to government to continue providing the health workers with the necessary preventive tools and improve their working conditions.
He also spoke for the deliberate good welfare of all teachers in Malawi in regard to the issue of risk allowances as learning institutions have now opened following the flattening of the COVID-19 curve.
He said prison warders and health personnel — who are at risk of contracting Coronavirus — are being given COVID-19 risk allowances, “why should our teachers be denied the same”?
“I had expected the President to adequately address this matter in his SONA but he deliberately chose not to address the plight of teachers, which is extremely unfortunate,” he said.
Nankhumwa also applauded the government for setting ambitious targets in maternal and child health such as 350 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2022 and the SDG target of 70 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030; to eliminate HIV/Aids as a public health hazard by 2030 as well as ensuring 100 percent availability of affordable family planning services and commodities.
“However, the statement fell short of outlining an action plan or the building blocks of how these targets will be achieved.
“Madam Speaker, it is now an open secret that COVID-19 has substantially disrupted the health care space and exposed our inadequacies.
“By merely saying ‘my administration is in the process of recruiting 1,600 health surveillance assistants; constructing 900 health posts and accommodation for staff in hard-to-reach areas by 2022’, the SONA fell short in terms of outlining comprehensive measures, including funding profiles to equipping major referral hospitals with equipment and drugs to prevent such infectious diseases from devastating our health care system again in future.”