Mzuzu, Mana: The Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 has pleaded with well-to-do Malawians to join the fight against the pandemic through donation of oxygen and cylinder supplies in established treatment centres to save more lives.
The Taskforce Co-Chairperson, Dr. John Phuka made the remarks Friday in Mzuzu during a site identification meeting for the Mzuzu 200 bed Isolation treatment facility that will accommodate admission of severe Covid-19 patients.
In a National Address recently, President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera declared a state of disaster all the 28 districts in the country and ordered the ministerial Committee to come up with further preventive measures against Covid-19.
Among the directives, President Chakwera announced last week were that all schools should close for three weeks, compulsory wearing of masks in public places and carrying of two passengers per seat in the public service vehicles.
“I plead with all business people, companies and all Malawians to come in with whatsoever assistance to help government get enough oxygen to save more lives as the number of confirmed cases has doubled since January this year.
“The number of tests has increased, noting that for the past 18 days only in January this year, the death rate has steadily risen and that the current trend is that the urban areas are mostly affected more than rural setting which has fewer figures reported,” Dr. Phuka said.
He also cautioned that there is the variant spreading of Corona virus – very fast, contrary to what has been experiencing before with daily new cases reaching as high as 1,000 from an average of 200 last year, regretting that people relaxed towards the end of the year when the country recorded low figures of confirmed cases and deaths.
Phuka observed that although government according to the presidential directives will procure 50,000 testing kits and 1,000 gas cylinders, these were just for a start up to four months and appealed for citizen contribution.
“Every Malawian has a duty to join the fight through donation of whatever little they have to make sure there is enough oxygen in our facilities to supplement government efforts to save more lives.
“The priority now is saving life through treatment, hence I am reiterating what the president said that government has limited resources and as citizens we have to do our part also,” he said.
Mzuzu Hospital Director, Dr.FranK Sinyiza said they had already proposed two sites one at the Mzuzu Central Hospital premises and Mzuzu Luwinga technical College structures.
Dr.Sinyiza bemoaned high vacancy rate at the hospital which he said is at 49 percent and that there is no oxygen plant, adding that they rely on local supplies of oxygen costing about K6 million before Covid-19 but since the pandemic cropped in they are spending K11 million in a month.
Dr.Phuka assured that following the presidential directives he has pushed Ministry of Health to facilitate and speed up recruitment of additional 1,380 medical personnel through newly graduated interns, health-care workers for Local government Services Commission, CHAM workers and Staff for central Hospitals.
The country is under siege of the dreaded Covid-19 disease which as of January 22, 2021, Friday the COVID-19 daily information update indicated that the new cases had hit as high as 1,316, with total active cases reported at 10,302, total people recovered at 6,408, with total deaths pegged at 445 of which 49 were new out of 121,620 total number of tests conducted across the country.