DPP spokesperson Brown Mpinganjira
* Serious shortage of vital medication, oxygen and its equipment
* Reports abound of some of healthcare workers being seriously demoralised
* As a result of the shortage of professional and vital non-professional back up personnel
* As well as shortage of personal protective equipment
By Duncan Mlanjira
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has issued serious allegations that instead of improving, the situation in COVID-19 treatment units in the country’s hospitals is deteriorating.
A statement issued by the party’s spokesperson Brown Mpinganjira claims there is continued serious shortage of vital medication, oxygen and equipment for the administration of the oxygen.
“And reports abound of some of our nurses and doctors being seriously demoralised as a result of the shortage of professional and vital non-professional back up personnel as well as personal protective equipment (PPEs).
“Reports indicate that in most cases patients are not bathed at all for days on end and that food has to come in from their family or friends.
In some cases, even when the food has been made available, there are no workers available to assist feeding the critically ill patients. The reports clearly indicate that the few workers who are in the wards are committed and doing the best they can, but their numbers are far too inadequate,” alleges Mpinganjira.
He went further to ask the government, “in the event that it’s are not aware, to furnish the nation with their plan of action for correcting the situation”.
“In the same vein, we are most worried that funds intended for the fight against this pandemic appear to have disappeared,” Mpinganjira continues. “We are very concerned with reports that the very people in the clusters which failed to account for the K6.2 billion have now been given the opportunity to go back and engineer their reports.
“This may hamper government’s efforts to get to the bottom of this ‘Covidgate’. It appears to us that the most transparent way of dealing with this outrageous theft and abuse is setting up a commission of enquiry comprising men and women of high standing in our country but also including appointees from various political parties, even as the Auditor General is doing his independent audit of the funds.
“This is important in the light of the fact that very soon Malawians will be requiring a report on the K17 billion which the government has released — to the same people who are unable to account for the K6.2 billion.
As has been said again and again by multiple sources, Malawians
are dying in our hospitals now for lack of oxygen. Therefore, everyone who will be found to have stolen money meant to buy medication and equimpment to save COVID-19 sufferers is guilty of mass murder and must be made to pay proportionately irrespective of their station in life.
“The DPP and all its members will be among the many millions of Malawians who will not sleep until the truth about this ‘Covidgate’ is known and the monies recovered.”
However, the presidential taskforce on COVID-19 says there is a decrease in the total number of admissions in the treatment units — giving hope in the fight against the second wave of the pandemic.
“The positive trends should not make us relax in adhering to the preventive measures but we should push on to reduce the spread further,” says Friday’s situation report.
Friday had 18 new cases that were hospitalised while 13 were discharged and of the active cases, 123 were hospitalised — with Lilongwe having the highest at 30 followed by 27 in Blantyre, 17 in Mzimba North and 10 in Thyolo.
As of Friday, the country registered registered 217 new COVID-19 cases, 388 new recoveries, four new deaths — three from Lilongwe and one from Rumphi Districts.
Cumulatively, 16,251 cases have now recovered, 134 were lost to follow-up, and 76 are still being investigated to ascertain their outcome — bringing the total number of active cases to 12,819.
Of the new cases, 212 were locally transmitted — again Lilongwe the highest at 101 followed by 40 from Blantyre and 15 each from Mzimba North and Salima.
Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 30,277 cases including 997 deaths (case fatality rate at 3.3%). Of these cases, 2,027 are imported infections and 28,250 are locally transmitted.
There were 1,374 COVID-19 tests that were conducted of which 564 tests were through SARS-COV-2 Antigen Rapid Diagnostic test while the rest were through RT-PCR.
The positive cases out of the total translates to a positivity rate of 15.8%.
Minister of Health, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, who is co-chairperson of the presidential taskforce on COVID-19 says as schools re-open on Monday, the there is need to work with unity to ensure continuity of education.
“As parents and guardians for our wards, we need to ensure that we are strictly following the COVID-19 preventive measures so as to limit and stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.
“If we reduce further the spread, we can be assured that our children’s education will not be disrupted again due to the rise in the number of cases.
“Let me clarify that the testing of students prior to return to school is not compulsory for all government and private schools but the district health and education authorities, working with the schools, will arrange screening during the first week.”