By Duncan Mlanjira
New-elected Medical Association of Malawi (MAM) president, Dr. Grace Chiudzu has added voice by urging the public to strictly adhere to COVID-19 preventative measures as the country continues to register new cases and deaths.
A situation report presented by co-chairperson of Presidential Taskforce Force on COVID-19, Dr. John Phuka says as of Saturday, July 25, the country registered seven new deaths after recording eight the previous day.
All the seven deaths were recorded in Blantyre. The total number of deaths since April is now at 94.
The new cases registered by Saturday are 103 cases, up from 68 it recorded on Friday.
Of the new cases 99 are locally transmitted infections and four are imported.
Healthcare workers continue to be vulnerable as from the locally transmitted infections, four are the frontline workers (two from Lilongwe and one each from Mulanje and Nkhata Bay).
The others are 39 from Blantyre, 24 from Lilongwe, 14 from Mzuzu, five from Zomba, three each from Karonga and Nkhata Bay, two from Thyolo and one each from Kasungu, Mwanza, Nkhotakota, Nsanje and Salima.
The report says cumulatively, 3,557 cases have been registered and of these 926 are imported infections and 2,631 are locally transmitted.
Those that have recovered are at 1,585 and active cases are at 1,878 and of these figures 66% are men.
In his report, Dr. Dzuka everyone has a role to play to reduce and contain the spread of the pandemic, which Dr. Chiudzu adds voice to.
“COVID-19 is real,” says Dr. Chiudzu. “As a country, we need to adhere to the preventative measures of social distancing and use of masks if social distance is not possible, avoiding crowded places, and regular hand washing or sanitizing.
Asked if the country has managed the pandemic well since the alerts on COVID-19 were intensified, Dr. Chiudzu says “under the prevailing circumstances and challenges, the country has made efforts to advise and protect the society from the pandemic and offered timely treatment for those affected”.
“Before the upsurge of the cases, we should have handled better the people who were crossing borders into Malawi from high risk countries by applying strict quarantine measures.”
The Medical Association of Malawi (MAM) has several objectives which included Article III of its Constitution that says:
1. To promote matters of medical and scientific interests
2. To maintain honor and interests of the medical profession
3. To hold, organise or arrange for holding of regular medical and scientific meetings
4. To liaise, negotiate or deal with the Ministry of Health in matters connected with or affecting members of the medical profession
It is the only Medical Association recognised under the Medical Practitioners and Dentist Act of Malawi to nominate its members to sit on the Board.
It was formed on 20th March, 1980 with former President late Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda designated as its Patron.
Dr. Chiudzu says MAM has three types of members as outlined in Article IV of its Constitution:
1. Ordinary Members – any person registered by Medical Council of Malawi as Medical practitioner or Dentist
2. Associate Member – any person serving in the senior paramedical capacity in Malawi
3. Honorary Member – any person (medical or non-medical) who has rendered distinguished service to the medical profession or Association
Dr. Chiudzu, who attained her doctorate at College of Medicine in 1994 after 5 years of training in the UK (St Andrews University, Scotland and University of London St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, London), has replaced Dr. Edgar Kuchingale.
Her specialty’s in this noble field is Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, obtained in South Africa.
During your one-year tenure, Dr. Chiudzu intends to resuscitate MAM, which has been dormant over the past years and make it visible again nationally aiming at inclusive membership.
She also wants to “create linkages with other medical professional associations both national and international and to institute professional development of members through continuous medical education.
There are several other medical associations available in the country that include Society of Medical Doctors (SMD) and Medical Doctors Union of Malawi (MDUM) with doctors as members.
And there is the Physicians Assistants Union of Malawi with paramedics (clinical officers and medical assistants) as members.
The full MAM committee membership has doctors Yotamu as vice-president, Boston Moyo as secretary, Lameck Chiunda as vice-secretary, Agnes Moses as treasurer and Uclid Sydney Magawa as vice-treasurer.
Committee members are doctors Rizine Zikamanda, Philliness Prisca Harawa, Beatrice Kasambwe, Benjamin Azaria Moscow’s and Chilungamo Khuwi.