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From Priscilla’s Chest: Time to act

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Now that all the excitement that comes with Christmas and New Year festive season is over, it is time to get down to business.

One area in need of maximum concentration is development both at individual and national level.

Malawi, which on July 6 will clock 52 years of independence from Britain, is way behind in many spheres of life, including service delivery and infrastructure development.

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Take for instance the health sector. Many of our public hospitals leave a lot to be desired in terms of service delivery. It is a common sight at the usually congested referral or district hospitals to find patients lying on the floor groaning with pain but cannot get medication because there is none of it in the pharmacy.

Put bluntly, many of the hospitals are just waiting bays for one to die. Few of them offer hope that one would get better.

While it is a fact that the economy is struggling and that government is financially struggling to deliver services due to the withdrawal of donors’40 percent contribution to the national budget, owing to concerns over management of public funds, sectors such as health deserve to be prioritised. Public hospitals offer hope to the majority of the poor Malawians who account for about 70 percent. I am referring to the segment of the population that survive on less than a dollar (about K700) per day.

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In terms of infrastructure, our so-called cities are not heaven as they are characterised by poor road infrastructure.

The situation is worse in residential areas where most roads are not tarred. Where there is a semblance of tarmac, then the road is riddled with potholes that quickly wear out vehicle suspensions.

Where roads are properly tarred, another problem arises; the drainage system is not up to standard. This worsens the situation when rains fall as the road surfaces are filled with silt and debris.

One area where, as a nation, we have lost track is the culture of maintaining the infrastructure we put up.

For example, you find a very beautiful building standing tall and adding beauty to the skyline but only to find that since its construction years back, no refurbishments have taken place. It just stands there going to waste.

The same goes for the many projects that as a nation we fail to take care of, including public buildings and facilities.

Instead of people helping government to ensure that such structures are well taken care of, unpatriotic people end up vandalising the facilities. No wonder, government or indeed private investors never take us seriously when we demand good things in our country.

It is a pity that as a nation, a lift or an elevator is still something that has not taken up yet. Why is it that the city planners allow some high rise buildings to be constructed without lifts or elevators? It is torture to restrict users of buildings with four storeys and above to use of stairs.

Now that we are in 2016, let us think differently as a nation and strive to make Malawi a better place. It begins at individual level.

Personally, I believe a better Malawi is possible, but only if we all take part in developing it and not point at each other in accusations of who did it better.

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