BY Iommie CHIWALO
The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI), has said that carelessness in handling cholera pandemic amounts to criminal negligence.
In a statement signed by CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa and released on Thursday, expresses disappointment with disturbing revelations from its findings that in the wake of the unprecedented cholera outbreak, which is claiming scores of innocent lives every day, it is business-as-usual on the government side.
“Actually, not even the bare minimum is being achieved in providing resources to treat cholera patients and, also, stop the spread of the outbreak,” reads an extract from the findings that has been attached in the statement.
CDEDI has also expressed dissatisfaction on how government is handling the matter following concerns that guardians of cholera patients in some parts of the country are being asked to pay money for their patients to be treated or to buy cholera kits elsewhere.
For instance in its findings CDEDI has, actually, discovered that, for this month, government has only bought 200 out of the required 1.2 million doses of IV fluids, especially Ringers Lactate used to treat cholera.
“It is against this background that we hereby challenge government, especially the Ministry of Health to prove us wrong that it has neglected the cholera fight by organising an emergency tour of major health stakeholders, including the media to appreciate the situation on the ground. As far as we are concerned, government’s failure to provide resources to for
fighting this outbreak is criminal negligence at its worst since the development has put in disarray the pillars of prevention and care in the fight against the outbreak,” suggests Namiwa.
Adding that nothing can be more worrying than the realisation that the death toll to cholera is increasing with each passing day, a sign that more lives are at risk.
Meanwhile, CDEDI maintains its call to President Lazarus Chakwera to immediately sack the Minister of Health, on one hand, and, also, call for an emergency high-level stakeholders meeting to scrutinise the cholera fight strategy, which is now clear that is offside to contain the outbreak.
“In fact, we are dismayed as to when the President thinks will be the right time to admit that the outbreak, which he declared in March, and this month described as a ‘public health emergency’, has overwhelmed his government, and appeal
from support donors,” he said.
Namiwa is convinced that Malawi, as a country cannot afford to just sit back and watch this outbreak which the World Health Organisation has described as the worst in a decade.
“We need help, and that help cannot come without us sounding the alarm,”
Confirmed media reports indicate that Lack of sufficient resources and proper hygiene in several cholera camps threatens the fight against the further spread of the outbreak since the facilities continue to register high admission of patients.
For instance it has been confirmed that authorities at Nayuchi and Namanja Health Centers in Machinga are now asking guardians of Cholera patients to purchase their own medical supplies in pharmacies due to scarcity of the equipment in the district.
Spokesperson for the district’s health office, Clifton Ngozo has confirmed the development saying the two facilities have run out of Intravenous fluids that are also running dry at the main district’s hospital due to congestion of Cholera patients.
And several guardians approached by this publication have revealed the matter and in the process expressing worry on how the disease will be contained, when medical equipment are in short supply in addition to requesting poor people to purchase drugs for the life threatening disease.