Frontline health workers at Covid-19 Kameza Quarantine Centre in Blantyre have withdrawn from work and released patients and suspects, demanding their risk allowances accumulated in the past three months.
The workers have vowed not to go to back to work until they get their allowances or an assurance from the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) that their issues are being looked into.
The workers confided in The Daily Times that out of seven patients and suspects, they have left one, who is on oxygen, alone at the facility.
“We have written all the relevant authorities that we have withdrawn from work and we have moved out of the facility. There is also one person who we have released but does not have transport to his home in Mzimba District, but we have informed the [District Health Office] to provide transport,” one of the workers said.
When we visited the facility yesterday morning, we found the workers locked in a meeting with Blantyre District Council Director of Health and Social Services, Dr Gift Kawalazira.
Kawalazira assured the workers that they would get the allowance and that the delay in paying them is because his office has not received additional funds from Dodma.
He explained that his office was funded with K45 million in March, out of which 48 percent was used to pay allowances.
“We are also following up with the disaster department which is coordinating this; so once the support is in, we will be able to pay them. I just came here to encourage them to keep on working and to assure them that the office is doing everything it can to follow up on their arrears so that they can expedite the release of the money,” Kawalazira said.
Dodma spokesperson, Chipiliro Khamula asked for more time before commenting on the matter.
Some of the workers claimed that their allowances have accumulated to up to K1.3 million.
Malawi has so far recorded over 560 confirmed Covid-19 cases out of which six have died.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.