As the country—and the world at large— continues to battle the Covid-19 pandemic, the resilience of the country’s hea l thc a r e wor ker s continues to offer a glimmer of hope.
So far, scores of health workers who tested positive for the pandemic and fell ill are back on their feet and have resumed soldiering on in the fight against the pandemic.
According to internal Min i s t r y of Heal th statistics we have seen, as of January 2021, six health workers have so far died of the pandemic with 917 workers testing positive in the country’s 28 districts. However, some officials estimate that the figure could be higher by now.
Meanwhile, at least 156 of the 917 cases have emerged during the current wave of the pandemic which appears to be more deadly than the first.
The second wave of the pandemic has so far attacked people aged between 17 and 72, with the average age of patients at 35.
The majority of the health workers infected are in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu.
Nurses are the hardest hit among the healthcare workers, followed by those operating laboratories, clinicians and hospital attendants although other workers have also been affected.
During the period under review, Blantyre registered 250 health workers infected by the coronavirus while Lilongwe and Mzuzu registered just under 150 Covid-19 positive cases each.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Health Principal Secretary Charles Mwansambo said they are monitoring the situation nationwide. However, he said the rate of recoveries among health workers was reassuring.
“I would like to state that not all recorded cases of health workers who have been diagnosed with Covid-19 are active. Most of those who had fallen sick have got better. Out of the total number of those who tested positive, maybe 180 workers nationwide are currently sick,” he said.
However, Mwansambo said the health care system still needs as many new health workers as possible.
He said the ministry is working with Treasury to ensure President Lazarus Chakwera’s recent plan to recruit additional 1 380 nurses and doctors for primary and tertiary health services is immediately rolled out. The exercise is expected to cost K1.7 billion.
Government is also expected to spend the money to support doctors and nurses on internship while pumping money into Christian Health Association of Malawi hospitals for wages.
However, despite some fear and anxiety, health workers we spoke with remained optimistic and confident in the public hospitals’ ability to help the country through the pandemic.
A nurse at Kamuzu Central Hospital, who was recently diagnosed with Covid-19 and recovered, told The Nation that despite the number of cases within the fraternity, they have continued to perform their duties as before.
However, she said morale among health workers could have been higher had medical supplies been always available.
“We are human beings, we know of colleagues who have fallen sick, but we also
are committed to our job. We are
fighting to save lives, all we need is the support to ensure that we have adequate materials and also government should employ as many workers as possible so that people are not overworking; hence, not unnecessarily exposing themselves,” said the workerwho spoke on condition of anonymity as she is not authorised to speak to the press. are committed to our job. We are
Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital director Dr Samson Mndolo has been appealing to the public to go to hospital when they suspect that they have contracted Covid-29, dismissing fears that the hospitals and health workers are too overwhelmed to save lives.
He said: “Most of the patients admitted to the hospital are recovering. Most of the people who are dying are dying at home or soon after arriving at the hospital because they arrive at the hospital too late.” said Mndolo.
Yesterday, Attorney General Chikosa Silungwe took to social media—Facebook—to reveal he had recently been diagnosed and successfully recovered from Covid-19.
He urged the public to undergo periodic full medical check-ups to ensure they know whether they have pre-existing medical conditions or not when diagnosed with Covid-19.
While announcing scaled up measures to tackle the pandemic, President Chakwera
did not indicate how many health workers will be recruited as part of the planned recruitment of medical officers.
However, among others, the President revealed plans to establish new temporary hospitals that will be constructed in the country’s major cities to reduce the burden on major hospitals with venues, including sports stadiums and Zomba State Lodge earmarked for the programme