Much ado about nothing
Sometimes, being Malawian is being saddled with a heavy yoke.
What else can one say of a country that seems to resort to violence whenever it is confronted by a problem?
As I am speaking, some three elderly people have been assaulted across the country. Why? Suspicions that they practice witchcraft.
On the mere ground of unfounded brief, elderly citizens, who contributed a lot to the development of the country, are chained and strung from the nearest tree. How shameful.
It could be that people have nothing to do or are intellectually bankrupt.
But this is Malawi, anyway.
One of the exercises that have been affected by unfounded claims and beliefs is the Covid vaccine administration one.
Up to now, Malawi is far from meeting its Covid vaccination target simply because of conspiracy theories.
And, yet, we remember very well how fellow Malawians suffered to coronavirus when the first case of coronavirus was reported in Malawi in April 2020.
We saw how overwhelmed our public hospitals were. We saw how distraught people were when they lost loved ones.
However, just in the nick of time, we seem to forget that.
I experienced, firsthand, a situation where members of a household were refusing polio inoculation simply because their religious briefs are against inoculation. Children died in that family simply because, even though the children did not know anything about religious beliefs, their parents held beliefs that cost the children their lives.
I also witnessed, first hand, a bubbly girl die of cholera simply because, due to religious beliefs, her parents could not allow her to go to the hospital to get medical treatment.
And I did not cry when community members roughed up the parents, who had to flee the scene and failed to attend the funeral service of their own child.
Sometimes, some people deliberately stoke community members’ ire.
I am not against religious beliefs; I am against harmful religious beliefs. Like chokolo and kulowakufa [traditional practices of wife inheritance], we must get rid of harmful religious practices.
Why am I saying this? We all know malaria— in terms of how dangerous it is.
Hundreds of under-five children succumb to it every year. It takes a big chunk of the drug budget. It does a lot of things, most of which negative, to us. So, why should we let it continue to bother us?
Unfortunately, this is what some community members are doing in Mangochi; shunning malaria vaccine.
What is their point? They suspect that they have mixed the malaria vaccine with the Covid vaccine. Washing basket!
We must remember that, for the past seven months, some districts have been piloting the malaria vaccine in the country.
In other districts, such as Machinga, things are well, with 50 percent of the targeted population reached so far.
Not with Mangochi.
This is happening when Malawi and other African countries have committed to ending malaria by the year 2030.
Just on April 25, Malawians joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Malaria Day.
Having had countless world malaria days, one would have thought people are well aware of the dangers pf malaria by now.
But maybe, Dear Pain, the 11 districts that the Ministry of Health put on the list of those to pilot the initiative can serve us from further embarrassment.
But, if people continue with their despicable behaviour of shunning safe vaccines, I will not be surprised. It is, Dear Pain, one of the pains of being Malawian.