Covid budget dissected as schools differ on testing
The Presidential Taskforce on Covid has broken down the K17.6 billion that President Lazarus Chakwera directed the Ministry of Finance to release for Covid response.
The taskforce’s co-chairperson, who is also Health Minister, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda outlined all the allocations to a total of eight clusters, government departments and ministries during the daily Covid briefing in Lilongwe Thursday.
The Ministry of Health has been given a lion’s share, at K5.8 billion, part of which will cater for healthcare personnel risk allowances.
“There is also an arrangement to buy PPE [personal protective equipment] and several other equipment,” she said.
Apart from the Ministry of Health, the Local Government Ministry will get K1.2 billion, the Ministry of Education K5 billion for students’ care, with other allocations being made to clusters.
The Wash cluster, for instance, has been allocated K2 billion to promote water availability and sanitation in schools; the Malawi Prison Service has been given K450 million while the Immigration Department has received K350 million.
Under the arrangement, Malawi Police Service has carted home K150 million, Malawi Defence Force K100 million, while the protection cluster has been given K100 million to protect women and girls from abuse, among others.
She said this on a day 644 Covid-19 new cases had been recorded, 38 deaths had been registered, 25 were discharged from hospital while 25 others were admitted to centres across the country.
Meanwhile, there is confusion surrounding the number of students tested for Covid in boarding schools.
Chitipa Secondary School Head teacher Dickson Mtete could, for example, not say how many students had been tested but said not all students had undergone the test.
“They were just staying; as such, a majority of them escaped to their homes. We mainly have form 4s but most likely they will disappear after they finish sitting their examinations tomorrow [today] but we are not telling anyone to go,” he said.
But Head teacher for Ngabu Secondary School, only identified a Mr Kaitano, and head teacher for Ngabu Secondary School in Chikwawa declined to comment on the matter.
Teachers Union of Malawi President Willie Malimba said the development poses a health risk to teachers who look after students in boarding facilities.