Health Secretary Namarika appeals to Malawians to trust COVID-19: tracking system

By Loness Gwazanga, MANA

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Dan Namarika has refuted rumours circulating that Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the country are being fabricated, arguing that there was no motivation to do so.

He made the clarification on Wednesday in Blantyre where he announced six more cases from Kaliyeka and Area 25 townships in Lilongwe that have tested positive to the disease.

Dr. Namarika (centre)

The new cases take the total tally to 23 registered cases including two fatalities and three who have recovered from the pandemic and 17 are being closely monitored.

Namarika said the Ministry works with reputable partners such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and that the cases are thoroughly verified before being made public.

“There are other people that are critics to the COVID-19 updates; what you need to know is that we are dealing with science and the beauty with it is evidence and data,” Namarika said.

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“It is not something that one can just sit down and create. The evidence is there.

“The Malawi Health Service System has all our partners on the table like WHO, Centre for Disease Control and therefore, there was no reason and motivation to fabricate the figures as they can be verified by anyone of us.

“We have a clear quality control laboratory service that is being provided. Let’s trust our system and that the figures being given are a true reflection of how the pandemic has hit the country.

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“We are at war with the virus and it’s up to us as Malawians to choose life. We have the opportunity now to control the disease but if we do not make the decisions now, the disease will control us and once it controls us, the battle will be difficult for all of us,” the Secretary for Health said.

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He described the fresh cases, of which, one was a little bit sick while the other ones were mild cases as a concern because he was not sure how many more they have infected as they all come from high density townships, saying contact tracing may not be very easy.

He said unlike the western countries where COVID-19 deaths are largely among the older population, there was a great risk that Malawi’s younger population may be affected, especially those with HIV, Tuberculosis (TB) as well as malaria infection background.

Coronavirus alert

“The new cases demonstrate Malawi’s impacts of population dynamics in case the disease really goes into our communities. 

“Malawi is a communal society unlike in the developed countries and the impact of physical distancing is being emphasized by these six new cases.

“The case of Kaliyeka is very worrying because we can easily get to the exponential phase of the disease.

“Because if each of them infecting four, it means those 17 that we are tracking times four will be hundred in the next day or two, in a month’s time, we can easily get to a thousand,” Namarika said.

Coronavirus alert

Globally, about 2.5 million cases and an associated 180,000 deaths have been recorded and the number is expected to rise as countries keep recording new cases every day.