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Long wait for President’s healthcare workers awards

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Brian Banda

Human Resource for Health Coalition (HRHC) has bemoaned President Lazarus Chakwera’s delays in awarding healthcare workers that have been outstanding in the country’s fight against the Covid pandemic.

In August last year, Chakwera announced that outstanding healthcare workers would be awarded for their bravery in the fight against the contagion.

At that time, the President described healthcare workers as champions who are sacrificing their lives against many odds, including depressing working conditions, depleted medical supplies and deteriorating infrastructure in healthcare facilities.

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“Without them, we would simply have no chance and no hope against this pandemic because they are truly our last line of defence,” he said.

However, HRHC Chairperson Shouts Simeza told The Daily Times that nothing had happened, despite that they compiled names from all cadres and presented them to State House.

“I would not say it was a political statement; maybe he is busy thinking about it but he is taking too long to think about it and make conclusions. We know that this is not the only matter that he is dealing with but it came from him and we still hope he will still come back to us,” he said.

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Society of Medical Doctors in Malawi President Dr Victor Mithi described the delay as discouraging.

“It comes in as a demotivating [factor] but, at the same time, it creates a sense of lack of seriousness from the President because people expect that when the President says something, it has to be followed with immediate action. When the narrative and actions on the ground are different, it creates confusion, in terms of following orders from the President,” he said.

State House Press Officer Brian Banda confirmed receiving the names but said the awards ceremony was on hold due to the Covid threat.

“It is being planned for the coming weeks if the current low positivity levels of Covid continue to hold,” Banda said.

The development comes at a time the Tonse Alliance-led administration has trimmed the financial allocation to the health sector.

In the 2021-22 national budget, the government has set aside K187.2 billion for the health sector, down from K204.7 billion allocated to the sector in the 2020-21 national budget.

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