University of Malawi (Unima) Chancellor College (Chanco) principal Professor Richard Tambulasi yesterday became the latest public university academic to die of Covid-19 as the second wave of the pandemic continues to hit the nation hard.
Tambulasi, born on June 27 1977, was laid to rest at his home village near Ntaja Trading Centre in Machinga after a requiem mass at St Charles Lwanga Parish in Zomba.
His death happened after that of former Chanco dean of Education McCloud Salanjira, who was buried on Saturday and hours after that of another former lecturer in Chanco’s Fine and Performing Arts Department Willie Nampeya on Saturday night.
On January 18, Chanco head of French Department Dr Maxwell Chilembwe also succumbed to Covid-19.
Yesterday, Chanco registrar Alfred Banda said he could not give the number of academics from the institution so far affected by Covid-19 as staff were attending Tambulasi’s burial.
He said: “Based on the foregoing, we may not provide the requested statistics and information for now.”
On his part, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) registrar Phillip Kaonda said the institution has lost two lecturers to the pandemic.
“A total of 18 staff members have been found positive and 16 have recovered so far and we have one active case,” he said.
In a separate written response, Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must) communications manager James Mphande said the institution has lost one lecturer in engineering since December last year.
He said: “From 26 December to date, we have had 13 [members of staff] who have tested positive and one of the 13 died while 11 have fully recovered and one is in isolation at home.
“The one who died during the second wave was a male lecturer in our Engineering Department. But during the first wave, we lost our university registrar and a research fellow.”
Mphande said Must is doing tests for Covid-19 and more staff have been doing tests, thereby making it easy to track positive cases. He said during the first wave, Must was not doing tests but depended on individuals to disclose their results to management.
Efforts to get statistics from The Polytechnic registrar Elias Chizimba proved futile as he indicated that he was attending a funeral while College of Medicine acting principal Mac Mallewa and Mzuzu University (Mzuni) registrar Yonamu Ngwira did not pick our calls and were yet to respond to our text messages.
But in January, two senior lecturers from Mzuni, Dominic Gondwe and Chimuleke Munthali, also died of Covid-19. By then, the institution had already recorded three positive cases among its staff.
In the past two weeks, numbers of Covid-19 recoveries have been increasing while reported numbers of positive cases have been on the decline with slight margins.
On Saturday, a total of 515 new cases were reported with 587 new recoveries and 38 deaths. While confirmed cases were at 26 875 by Saturday, total recovered cases were at 11 384 and the cumulative number of deaths was at 837.