By Patience Lunda:
Health officials in border districts of Karonga and Chitipa have decried non-adherence to Covid-19 precautionary measures by communities in the districts, stressing they risk spreading further coronavirus.
The situation is being attributed to interaction with Tanzanians who have not been observing Covid-19 preventive measures such as wearing of face masks for more than six months.
Karonga District Director of Health and Social Services, David Sibale, said the communities in Malawi have been taken up by what people in the neighbouring country are doing and it is becoming hard to convince them to comply with the preventive measures.
He said in the interim, his office is engaging traditional leaders.
“Compliance to Covid-19 precautionary measures is a challenge because the people interact with the Tanzanians on daily basis and when we try to sensitise them, they think we are the enemies because they compare with what their friends are doing,” he said.
On his part, Chitipa District Director of Health and Social Services, Wilson Ching’ani, said the district has a lot of unchartered routes which indigenous Malawians use and it becomes hard to screen and test them for Covid-19.
Ching’ani said his office is currently working with security agencies such as Malawi Police Service and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services to help deal with the problem.
“There are some villages that share many things with the Tanzanians and it’s hard to reach out to these people because they share the same ideologies with them and there is need for collective effort to control the usage of unchartered routes because they are posing a threat,” he said.
Both Sibale and Ching’ani suggested cross boarder meetings between Malawian and Tanzanian health officials to map the way forward on the matter.
As of Thursday, Karonga District had recorded 480 Covid-19 cases whilst Chitipa District had recorded 217 cases.
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