By Tione Andsen, MANA
UN Women has expressed concern that a lot more men seems to have died in the country from COVID-19, perhaps because of their unhealthy behaviors.
UN Women Country Representative in Malawi, Clara Anyangwe made the remarks Wednesday during the Ministerial Stakeholders Stock Taking meeting on implementation of gender-related interventions in the context of COVID-19.
The meeting, at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe, also touched on gender-based violence (GBV), women economic empowerment, decision making, laws and policies, children, disability and social welfare.
Anyangwe said this was of grave concern that men’s health, as well as women’s health should thus be at the heart of the response.
In his Wednesday evening’s situation, co-chairperson of Presidential Taskforce Force on COVID-19, Dr. John Phuka indicates that 68% of 5,240 cumulative cases are male.
As of Wednesday evening the country registered 47 new cases, one new death recorded in Zomba and 141 new recoveries.
Anyangwe said the mental stress that COVID-19 was putting on women, girls, men and boys cannot be underestimated.
She viewed that there was need to work to do to relentlessly safeguard the rights and well-being of women, girls, men and boys during this pandemic.
“We recognize the ever-increasing efforts government was undertaking, assisted by civil society organizations, development partners and other players, who have sent COVID-19 sensitisation messages to rural communities,” Anyangwe said.
She took cognizance that personal protective equipment (PPEs) have been distributed and that health care workers are active on the ground as well as having mechanisms to support and reintegrate returnees from South Africa, Zimbabwe and other countries.
“We should continue to look critically into addressing the gendered impacts of COVID-19 in an effective and efficient manner.
“We need to ensure that awareness rising at community level continues to centre on behavioural change, social norm change, to ensure households, families and communities have the right information and are purposefully participating in and owning the COVID-19 response.”
She said the building of the next generation in line with the generation equality campaign, girls and children have to be at the heart of our response as we invest in and safeguard their future.
Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati said the support UN Women has provided in the country has improved a lot of issues.
“Your complementary support to government is appreciated as it is helping in localizing the national response and support to the gender and protection clusters which my Ministry coordinates,” she said.
In his situation report, Dr. Phuka said as of Wednesday evening, all new cases are locally transmitted infections of which 23 are from Blantyre, 14 from Mzimba North, six from Lilongwe (one is a healthcare worker), two each from Karonga and Nkhata Bay.
Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 5,240 cases including 164 deaths and of these cases, 1,089 are imported infections and 4,151 are locally transmitted.
Cumulatively, 2,857 cases have now recovered bringing the total number of active cases to 2,219.
The country has so far conducted 40,640 tests in 45 COVID-19 testing sites of which 534 tests have been done in the past 24 hours of Wednesday evening.—Additional reporting by Duncan Mlanjira