By Chalo Mvula
The Minister of Civic education and National unity Timothy Mtambo has called on various stakeholders to have a more coordinated effort in highlighting the plight of covid19 to Malawians. He was speaking this on an online platform PowerGlobal Radio after being hosted by Mahara Mhango in a show called “The great conversation”
Mtambo said it is his ministry duty to make Malawians aware that Covid19 is real and that it is killing people. He said there had been conflicting reports in the past with others claiming this is hoax or only an illness that attacks the rich and high-profile people. The stats for the pandemic which currently stands at 97 people dead, 1878 active cases and 3557 confirmed cases sees more people getting infected every day. According to the Minister this highlights that everyone, disregarding the social standing is at risk “Let me tell Malawians that Covid is a threat ,Covid is real and lets protect ourselves and others. The government under Dr Lazarus Chakwera is working hard to save lives of Malawians”.
Asked on what approaches his ministry will adopt to make sure that word about the dangers of the virus reaches every Malawian including those in very rural areas, Mtambo said the ministry is currently developing a strategy plan. He said it is worrying that there are elements of stigma around the pandemic “We need to be open about Covid19, there is no point to hide or treat people that have the virus as some sort of outcasts. Malawi has to face the virus head on and work together to minimising its spread” He suggested an idea where by his ministry want to embark on an outreach programme that uses those that have recovered from the illness to talk of their experiences as one way of breaking the stigma surrounding Covid19.
Mtambo also talked about the need to learn from what other countries that have had the same experiences have done. “We have to use all diverse means that are available– lets learn from what other countries that have had this experience”. He highlighted that government is open and is willing to implement any new measure that will help save the life of Malawians. He called on various stakeholders to help the government if they can as the country is in need of masks and test kits
The minister also talked about Possibility of using Teachers that are not in school to be community educators on issues around Covid “I recently had a meeting with university students and had a discussion on how can we use them to go on ground to disseminate information so that every Malawians is well informed about the pandemic”. He highlighted that his Ministry will work on engaging volunteers who have help in civic education initiatives.
Mtambo urged Malawians not to travel unless it is necessary to do so, to minimise visiting friends and family and wash their hands regularly and wear masks when in public places. The Minister had supportive words to health care workers who are at the frontline fighting the pandemic “On behalf of the president let me thank our healthcare workers who are putting their lives on the line to help save Malawians, let me assure you that Government will give you sufficient support and enough personal protective equipment to make sure you are protected”
The show also had other guests that included Daud Suleman, American based Nurse Doreen Chisiza and Dr Daniel Dube , a USA based pulmonologist.