By Deogratias Mmana:
Some religious leaders in the country have criticised politicians for apparently promoting the spread of Covid-19 which has so far claimed over 2,600 lives.
While the country’s attention has largely tilted towards the raging cholera outbreak, the religious leaders say it is still important to look back to what contributed to the spike in cases of the virus to avoid a similar situation in the future.
Addressing the press in Lilongwe Tuesday, the clerics, led by General Secretary of the Evangelical Association of Malawi Reverend Francis Mkandawire, said a survey they had conducted showed three major aspects compromised the Covid fight.
They said apart from politically focused agendas, which featured prominently, and compromised healthcare systems, some religious teachings and theories also threw spanners in efforts to control the virus.
“Politicians looked at the Covid pandemic as a great opportunity for building personal and institutional economic status at the expense of people’s lives,” Mkandawire said.
He also cited non-compliance by politicians with government-instituted Covid management guidelines as another factor that promoted the spread of the virus.
Mkandawire also took a swipe at other religious leaders who discourage their followers from seeking medical attention.
Meanwhile, health rights activist George Jobe has stressed the need for every eligible person to access the Covid vaccine during a time such as this when there is more supply than demand.
“We need to have strong immunity in case another wave comes,” Jobe said.
He also agreed with the religious leaders that politicians contributed to the spike in Covid cases, adding that the scars are still there.
“Regardless of what may have been done by our politicians, the nation needs to remember that Covid is still there and that it is dangerous and kills,” Jobe said.
Government targets to vaccinate 11 million people.
By November 29, 2022, only 3,155,107 people had been fully vaccinated, according to statistics from the Ministry of Health.
Districts with low vaccination rates include Zomba, at nine percent, Chikwawa, at seven percent, Phalombe, at six percent, and Thyolo, at five percent.
Those that have surpassed the 30 percent vaccination target of their district populations include Ntchisi, at 47 percent, Kasungu (40 percent), Rumphi (39 percent), Mzimba North (36 percent), Machinga (35 percent) and Nsanje (31 percent).