By Chancy Namadzunda:
The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has called for extraordinary measuresand strategies such as creating more bed space in hospitals, closure of schools and bars as cases and deaths related to Covid-19 continue rising.
In a statement signed by HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence and Luke Tembo, while declaring that Malawi is mourning and at war, the organization said the only hope in containing this marauding virus is to employee and tighten all the preventive strategies that are at our disposal.
Among others, HRDC has recommended that government should strengthen Health System by making sure that all stakeholders should direct their resources towards making sure that our health system is equipped to absorb the shocks of Covid 19.
“It is time that we create more bed space, buy ventilators in our hospitals. It is also time that we decentralize to the Covid 19 response mechanism to district hospitals. Let us recruit more health providers to help tame the virus – the virus has stretched our providers, they are overwhelmed and tired, they are being exposed to the virus and they need personal protective gears now.
“We also need to improve on contact tracing – this again boils down to the need for adequate health providers. We need Total enforcement of the Covid 19 guidelines – the mandatory wearing of masks, social distancing, washing and hand sanitizing must be enforced even if it means forcibly so. We need government to enforce without fear the 100 people per gathering. It is probably time that these numbers should be revised downwards,” reads part of the statement.
The organization has further called for a closure of schools and bars because the new wave and stain of Covid 19 is affecting all age groups in equal measure.
“All points of entry into the country must be closed forthwith and only allow for essentials to pass through. In the same breath, we call upon authorities to make sure that institutional quarantine is enforced at any cost.
” While government is enforcing the restrictions to curb the spread of Covid 19, it is important that special attention is paid towards making sure the vulnerable are cushioned from the effects of these restrictions. We need to scale up the social cash transfers and any other strategy that is at our disposal,” reads the statement.
HRDC said It is time that government must not shy away from effecting what it deems effective in taming this virus, even if it means partial lockdown as long as it is done in good faith, respect rule of law and within the tenets of human rights.