Blantyre District Office (DHO) says it is prioritising support for health workers to stay safe in the wake of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The remarks were made by the DHO’s director of health and social services Dr Gift Kawalazira yesterday during a media training and briefing on Covid-19 organised by Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust and The Polytechnic’s Department of Journalism and Media Studies.
He said the health office is working in collaboration with Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital to set up an intensive care unit (ICU) where critically ill health workers will be admitted.
“The plan is that Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital will be getting 10 ventilators from the Ministry of Health, specifically for the Covid-19 response. Seven of them will be put at Queens to cater for the health workers that might need intensive care unit and three will be put at Kameza Isolation Centre for the general public.
“If we will have health workers that are mildly sick because they have been in contact with a case of Covid-19 and they require isolation to prevent transmission to their families, they will be accommodated at College of Medicine hostels where an isolation centre will be set up,” said Kawalazira.
He said for the general population, if there will be need for isolation in mild cases and in case of suspected contamination, institutions such as The Polytechnic, Malawi College of Health Sciences, Kamuzu College of Nursing as well as some secondary and primary schools will be used.
Speaking on the state of Kameza Isolation Centre, whose pictures are circulating on social media and indicating dilapidation, Kawalazira said the DHO has been caught unawares with Covid-19, but it is working on improving the situation.
Speaking on the highlighted measures to protect health workers, epidemiologist Dr Titus Divala, who is also a member of the Society of Medical Doctors, emphasised that the best approach for Covid-19 is not with doctors, but families, individuals and in communities.