LILONGWE (MalawiTalk) – President Dr Lazarus Chakwera, whose governing Tonse Alliance lost two ministers and a permanent secretary to Covid-19 in a matter of day, has announced it is turning the idle State House in Zomba into a temporary hospital to cope with patients.
Chakwera in a television address on Sunday said government will also construct temporary hospital such as 300-bed capacity field hospital at Blantyre Youth Centre, turn Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe to be a 100-bed makeshift hospital and another field hospital will be created in Mzuzu.
He also said the government has allocated an additional 1K.6 billion kwacha in funds to be spent on recruiting 1 380 frontline healthcare workers, 1 000 intensive care unit beds and 1000 oxygen cylinders among other requirements.
The President said the country’s health facilities do not have the capacity to treat the numbers of people being infected with the virus pandemic.
He said: “Because of decades of neglect and plunder in the health sector, this pandemic has found us at a time when our hospitals and clinics are in a sorry state.
“The dysfunctions of the health sector are systemic, and so, by their very nature, they will take years of investment and discipline to fix.”
President Chakwera said for this reason, Malawians must accept that any measures his administration put in place now to relieve the pressure the health facilities are under will be “temporary and imperfect at best.”
Said Chakwera: “ We should therefore not expect that everyone who needs a test or medical attention for Covid-19 will get it, or that those who get it will get the best care, or that everyone who gets treated will survive.”
He also called for behaviour change.
“We must all accept that this virus is being spread by our behaviour. No matter how many policies, or law enforcement protocols, or treatment programs the Government puts in place, the virus will continue to spread and to kill the most vulnerable among us if our behaviour does not change.”
Chakwera said a third of those deaths were reported in the past 16 days, forcing the government to seek additional funding to contain the pandemic at a time when the country is in 4.1 trillion kwacha of debt.