Once again, the Covid-19 numbers are spiraling out of control and, just like the previous time, it seems we are being reactionary as if we did not know that the third wave was coming. No disrespect to efforts by the authorities as we heard the other day the Society of Medical Doctors in Malawi expressing satisfaction with our level of preparedness… In fact, I would give a similar rating of ‘satisfactory’, meaning that we could have done far much better than we have in preparing to tackle the pandemic.
I certainly see no reason why we should be committing funds towards enforcement of preventive measures at a time we are failing to independently procure Covid-19 vaccines from abroad. That little something, together with funds that can be identified from other allocations, can strengthen our adhoc plan to get the Covid-19 vaccine consignment ready and shipped. Better yet, do all the people have the much needed materials with which to prevent coronavirus from attacking them? Perhaps that would have made a good start; give the people facemasks, hand sanitisers, especially the ultra-poor who cannot afford to buy such material.
And in responding to the gesture by the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 to release funds for the enforcement exercise to the Malawi Police Service (MPS), Area 30 has this week rolled out what it calls Operation Vala Mask and this appears to have re-enforced the message that everyone ought to be wearing facemasks and observe social distancing; how the law enforcers are enforcing sanitising of hands is another topic. I heard some people even alleging that the law enforcers were forcing those travelling all alone in a personal vehicle to mask up. Tough times we are living in!
I was startled to learn the other day, during a presser by the Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, that most people who are being admitted to hospitals and succumbing to Covid-19 in the country are those that have taken the route of self-prescription. I would not want to come across as being judgemental but opting for over-the-counter drugs before having the problem diagnosed by medical experts is a hazard in itself.
Our hospitals should also feel homely in as far as handling of Covid-19 patients is concerned. We need to cut all the stigma and trauma that is associated with the pandemic, if at all we are to see the situation reverting to the old way whereby many people would patronise hospitals without even giving a second thought.
And while we are on this subject of Covid-19, I hear President Lazarus Chakwera is set to take to the skies tomorrow for a summit on education in Britain, when the host at 10 Downing Street, Boris Johnson, has been self-isolating after coming into contact with one of his ministers who tested positive.
There is nothing wrong in having the President visit the Queen’s land on a tour of duty, which, as we were told on Monday by State House Press Secretary Brian Banda, is an ‘important’ one but the reality is that the timing really sucks. I hope all precautions will indeed be taken and that ours will not be a bloated delegation, in keeping with the decongestion efforts as the world battles Covid-19. It would have also been great if government had come out well before hand to tell us about the nine people accompanying the President and what role they are going to play while in Britain; this one has nothing to do with Covid-19 but just for accountability purposes.
I deviated a bit; we are talking about Covid-19 here. It is very painful to lose a loved one to the pandemic, hence everyone should try to, as much as possible, follow the preventive measures that were outlined by the authorities. My commiserations to those who have lost a loved one; I can relate. The best we can do as a people, while there still is no cure, is to observe the preventive measures and, once the next consignment of the Covid-19 vaccine is in, get a jab.
Who has the scoring boots?
Year in year out, our national football team, the Flames, makes it a point, whether deliberately or not, to disappoint us. While we were busy nursing a hang-over from the good news about the team’s qualification to Africa Cup of Nations and its forthcoming World Cup qualifier matches, the Flames decided to pull a stinker by living up to their billing as perennial under-achievers in the Sadc region when they failed to win a match in South Africa at the Cosafa tournament.
To put it simply, the team has to get organised now regardless of the fact that we had seemingly sent a second string side to Cosafa, if at all we are to go further in both the upcoming Afcon and World Cup games.
Somebody please tell us; who has the Flames’ scoring boots?
Stephen Dakalira is a seasoned Journalist who works as Times Group’s Online and Digital Executive Editor. He is also the Assistant Editor of The Sunday Times Newspaper, and author of Full Circle column which appears in Malawi News; all of these under the Times Group stable.
He has previously worked in key positions for some of Malawi’s key media institutions such as Malawi News Agency, Capital FM Radio and Star Radio (Now Timveni Radio).