At least 223 health workers have tested positive for Covid-19 in the country, a development which the government has described as risky as it has the potential of paralysing efforts in fighting the pandemic.
Chief of Health Services in the Ministry of Health, Dr Charles Mwansambo, said both health workers that are infected and those working on-shifts have to go into quarantine, a development that is reducing further the numbers of frontline staff.
As of Sunday July 19, 2020, nearly 3,000 Covid-19 positive cases had been recorded in the country, 7.7 percent of which are healthcare workers.
However, no health worker has died with the virus out of the 62 deaths that have been registered so far.
Mwansambo has since advised health workers to follow all the infection prevention measures right from the time they wear the full personal protective equipment (PPE) to the time they are removing it to avoid contracting the novel coronavirus.
“Covid-19 is hitting us hard because the health workers, after their shift, they go into quarantine. So the more health workers we have infected, the few health workers we have at our disposal to do the work.
“I must say here that the health workers can get infected in the hospital, but also we are part of the community so some maybe infected in the communities where they come from. Every health worker is encouraged to wear full PPE.
“However, these are not 100 percent fool proof. There might be some situations like when you are taking off the PPE when you may get infected with the virus, so we are encouraging the health workers to make sure that they follow all the infection prevention measures right from the time they wear the PPE to the time they are removing it,” Mwansambo said.
Reacting to this development, health rights Activist, Maziko Matemba, maintained that provision of adequate PPE can help to protect both the health workers and patients.
“These cases are increasing because of lack of adequate protective equipment which is key to protect health workers which has to be prioritised at all cost and if not checked will have a negative impact on the Covid-19 response as we might have few health workers on duty to support patients,” Matemba warned.
Malawi has the highest number of positive cases among its neighbours, Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique.
Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda has disclosed that the country is expecting to receive 35,000 test kits by the end of the week saying the country was expecting about 10,000 tests kits from African Union and about 25,000 tests kits from Europe.