'Ministerial COVID-19 deaths wake up call to reinvest in health sector'

Wake up call-Namiwa says Picture by Pemphero Musowa

The death of two cabinet ministers, Sidik Mia and Lingson Belekanyama should be a wake-up call for government to reinvest in the health sector, a vocal human rights groups has said.

Centre for Democratic and Economic Initiative says time for rhetoric is up and government should bring out a comprehensive strategy based on campaign promises.

Among other issues is Vice President Saulos Chilima's promise to turn one of the State residences into an isolation facility.

"Plead with your boss Lazarus Chakwera to consider the campaign promise to turn one of the idle State residences to look after these people.

"It should be a wakeup call to this government to reinvest into the health system, the COVID-19 situation has exposed a lot of shortfalls in the public health system," he said.

Namiwa pic by Pemphero Musowa
Called on Chilima to fulfill  promise and Joyce Banda to retract statement-Picture by Pemphero Musowa

Namiwa also called out former president Joyce Banda to retract and apologise for her speech in which she told Malawians that globally, there is COVID-19 but Malawi did not have it.

“In the interest of transparency, fairness, accountability it is fair for her as a leader, influential for that matter to come and tell Malawi, that please let’s wake up there is COVID-19,” he said.

Namiwa: Retract now

"You know Malawi is hand to mouth. Without spelling out cushioning measures, meaning in an attempt to protect Malawians from COVID-19,  we are exposing many more Malawians to death because of starvation, to high levels of poverty," Namiwa said.

He added: “Our emphasis on COVID-19 is right but we are running a risk where the attention is focused on one issue.

"In Malawi, we have a lot of killer diseases, Malaria, HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes. Innocent lives are being lost.”