Many people no longer have the decency to have at least a dust bin or a pit within their premises for disposing rubbish, which explains why we end up with some used baby diapers dumped all over the streets and corners in the neighbourhood.
The call by the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 and Cholera has been loud and clear; as a country and a people, we need all the help we can get. Whether from the public sector or private sector, it does not matter but we need to have the necessary resources with which to contain the cholera outbreak which, as of Monday January 9, 2023, had claimed a total of 716 lives (12 new) and a total of 21,522 had been diagnosed with the disease.
Much as we know that the government, through Ministry of Health, should have been proactive right from the word go when the first case was recorded back in March last year, it is not time for blame game now, considering the dire situation we have on our hands. Each one of us must do their part to ensure that we defeat this common enemy among us.
Looking at developments in some parts of the country, I am left without a doubt that we are deliberately breeding cholera in our towns and cities, ladies and gentlemen. Of more concerning is the waste, including some broken sewer systems, that are spewing filth in places such as markets in the two major cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe. How can we afford to, for example, have a neglected Malangalanga in Lilongwe’s main town, where some of the drainage systems long seized functioning?
It is not just public utility companies that are negligent. As communities, we are also not doing the battle against cholera any favours as hygiene and sanitation at household level also leaves a lot to be desired. Many people no longer have the decency to have at least a dust bin or a pit within their premises for disposing rubbish, which explains why we end up with some used baby diapers dumped all over streets and corners in the neighbourhood.
At the rate we are going, it will not be surprising to see the cholera outbreak continuing to spread like bushfire at a time the authorities have made an urgent appeal for support from both public and private sectors. The support required includes beds, tents, singers lactate, giving sets, examination and heavy duty gloves, gumboots, solar lamps, buckets with taps aprons and soap, among others.
And then, as if these problems on our hands were not enough, some nincompoop (pardon my French) in Limbe, I am told, went round to a health clinic where cholera patients were receiving treatment and was caught red-handed, busy unhooking the drips that had been connected to the patients. Whether, indeed, he was doing such atrocious acts deliberately, or with his coffin workshop in mind, as alleged, is neither here nor there but such kind of beings do not deserve to occupy a part of this earth. Maybe they should take him to a mental institution for thorough scrutiny before he faces the law, since others have alleged that he might be mentally disturbed.
Otherwise, let us learn to be proactive and very vigilant to ensure that we do not end up with multiple disasters on our hands.
Two or three-storey structures, perhaps, for security houses?
The other day, I was in the company of one Cedrick Magombo, a man of few words and the designer of the very page you’re reading. As we passed a construction site for security institution houses that government is constructing in Blantyre, he raised a very important aspect which I think the authorities should seriously consider. It applies even to the other sites in districts where the project is being implemented.
The houses that are being built are, surprisingly, all regular single units which, we both agreed, is a waste of space and resources that could have otherwise been utilised well.
Look, why not, instead of constructing, say, 10 different houses occupying a larger space, put up flats where three or four buildings with four storeys would accommodate scores of houses on the very same limited space available. This is what we call thinking outside the box and the brains of those spearheading such initiatives ought to be tilting towards such a direction. Imagine if the same can be adopted for all other housing projects…the residential accommodation problem would be wiped out in a flash!
But we know this is Malawi, where we like to do things in antagonising slow motion and by the time we realise that we are 10 or 20 years behind and need to catch up with advanced countries, it would be too late.
Stephen Dakalira is a seasoned Journalist who works as Times Group’s Online and Digital Executive Editor. He is also the Assistant Editor of The Sunday Times Newspaper, and author of Full Circle column which appears in Malawi News; all of these under the Times Group stable.
He has previously worked in key positions for some of Malawi’s key media institutions such as Malawi News Agency, Capital FM Radio and Star Radio (Now Timveni Radio).