Last week, I followed with keen interest the conference by Society of Medical Doctors in Malawi held Mangochi where President Lazarus Chakwera was the guest of honour. Much as some people, particularly on social media, tried to play down the occasion by arguing that it did not warrant the presence of a whole President, I was of the view that the event was a perfect opportunity for the Head of State to show his appreciation to the medical doctors for the tremendous work that they have been doing in saving lives, more especially now when Malawi, just like the rest of the world, has been battling the Covid-19 pandemic.
Let us be realistic; for all the hard work and lengthy hours that those in the medical field, particularly doctors, have clocked in a quest to contain the impact of Covid-19, not many of us have spared a minute to appreciate these unsung heroes, not even a ‘thank you’. There have been a few good Samaritans who have taken it upon themselves to donate some much-needed supplies and food for the doctors in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. God bless them; it can never be enough, looking at all the work they are doing.
You would be appalled once you see the environment in which some of them work. We have heard on numerous occasions of scenarios where a doctor delivers a baby under candlelight, simply because the hospital has no electricity. As ably pointed out by their president Victor Mithi, poor housing and low salaries are areas that need to be immediately looked at, if at all they are to feel motivated. As they say, no matter how much money one has, you cannot buy life and here we are with these noble souls who literally dedicate themselves to saving that priceless life. They deserve to be remunerated handsomely and to be well housed but that is not the situation on the ground, a development that has forced many true sons and daughters of the land to seek greener pastures.
I was impressed that President Chakwera equally highlighted the plight of those in the medical field and promised that government would bring about change. Let us hope that this would really materialise. It does not make sense for the country to keep referring patients abroad for specialised treatment when all what is needed is to come up with state-of-the-art hospitals where sons and daughters of the land who have managed to specialise in various medical fields would treat the citizenry as opposed to keeping them on the waiting list for too long or spending huge sums of money by sending them abroad. We must take radical steps to improve the plight of health workers such as doctors which would, in a way, help bolster healthcare service provision.
Having said that, allow me to now flip the coin. There are also some doctors who are giving the profession a bad name, as witnessed recently when the Medical Council of Malawi cracked its whip on a number of them for various offences. This should be avoided at all cost. Otherwise, if you are a doctor and are diligently serving mother Malawi, I doff my hat to you!
Drive safely on the roads
I know many people will say ‘not again, we have heard it all before’ but seriously, it is time for each one of us to do something that could help contain the needless road accidents that are claiming a lot of lives on our roads each passing day. This week alone, somebody somewhere lost a wife, husband, child, relation due to these road accidents.
It is sad that the once vibrant National Road Safety Council of Malawi, now a part of Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services, is not as visible as it used to be when it was an independent entity; it used to go an extra mile in conducting awareness campaigns on road safety. In fact, that is beside the point. It should not take a whole institution for people to appreciate just how dangerous it can be on the road when you are reckless or are not adhering to road safety regulations.
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).