As the country continues to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic, 13 new cases have been registered—five of them being health workers from Blanytre District Health Office (DHO).
Meanwhile, the Malawi Health Equity Network (Mehn) has said the health care workers’ cases signal the need for more investment in protection of medical professionals.
The 13 cases bring the number of confirmed cases to 56 with three deaths, since the first case was reported on April 2 2020.
Speaking during a media briefing at Mzuzu Central Hospital on Saturday, Minister of Health and Population Jappie Mhango said of the 13 cases, seven are contacts of the Bvumbwe case, one is from Mangochi, while five are from Blantyre.
He said the Blantyre DHO embarked on a Covid-19 testing for both the staff and health care workers who attend to clients at the Kameza Quarantine Site.
Said Mhango: “On May 7, 44 specimen were collected and five have come out positive. On May 8, 38 samples were collected and the results are pending. Contact tracing for all the cases is ongoing.
“This mass testing exercise has been initiated in an effort to ascertain the risk of health care workers on contracting the virus The health care workers and the support staff are in close contacts to positive cases as they collect samples and also caring for the positive and presumptive cases.”
According to the minister, of the 56 cases, 14 have successfully recovered, three have died while 39 are still under management by the health system.
Mhen executive director George Jobe said the infections of health care workers should not create fear among them although it calls medical personnel.for investments in protecting the
“This is telling us that we need serious investment in protection of health care workers. This is not just about personal protective equipment; it is also about disinfecting the buildings.
“Our health workers require support, not just from government, but even from individuals. They are our frontline soldiers and have to be protected at all cost, let us all help them,” he pleaded.
This means, out of the 56 cases in Malawi, Lilongwe has 24, including two deaths; Blantyre has 16 cases, with one death; Thyolo has eight cases, Mzuzu three whereas Zomba, Karonga, Nkhotakota, Chikwawa and Mangochi have a case each.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that health workers are at the frontline of the Covid-19 outbreak response and as such they are exposed to hazards that put them at risk of infection.
WHO says health workers’ hazards include pathogen exposure, long working hours, psychological distress, fatigue, occupational burnout, stigma, and physical and psychological violence.n