By Leonard Masauli
Lilongwe, Mana: Minister of Health, Khumbize Chiponda has lamented increased vaccine resistance among Malawians saying the development puts the Country at a greater risk of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She made the remarks on Wednesday during a ceremony to handover Information Communication Technology (ICT) equipment from Irish Embassy and United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) meant to help Public Health Institute of Malawi, in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and able to detect the kind of Virus after conducting tests.
Chiponda said it was worrisome that there was still some resistance regarding vaccination as only 10 percent of the country’s population has been vaccinated.
“We still have a challenge regarding vaccination in the country. Current figures show that only 10 percent of the population has been vaccinated which is around to 1,139,589 people. However, as a Ministry we are doing our best to ensure more people are vaccinated.
“We thank Irish Embassy and UNICEF for the ICT equipment support because previously we could only do tests to see whether one has COVID-19 or not but we could detect the kind of Virus and that forced us to send our samples to South Africa but now we will be doing everything by ourselves and by Malawians,” she said.
The Minister said apart from the ICT equipment, the laboratory staffs have been trained on how they could conduct the tests saying it would add value in the management of the pandemic in the country.
The Ireland Ambassador to Malawi, Seamus O’Grady said the support was meant to help in the fight against the pandemic saying it was earlier observed that Malawi lacked some capacity in certain areas and hence the support.
The Ambassador thanked Malawi government for the strides to fight for the pandemic saying the number of deaths is not too much as it is in other countries.
United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Deputy Representative to Malawi, Gerrit Maritz said about US$ 2 billion has been allocated for the programme and the ICT equipment support is meant to help to build resilience and add value towards improvement health care management system in as far as the pandemic was concerned.
“A lot is being pronounced from order population but the pandemic did not spared children as they were also hugely affected and some abused during lockdown and that such negative impact to Children needs to be prevented,” he said.
Maritz said it was a welcome idea that children at the age of 12 could be vaccinated for example Pfizer so to reduce their risks to COVID-19.