Namushi Kalumbi’s follow-up study to specialise as a Children’s nurse in Lilongwe, Malawi, has been suspended due to Covid-19. She has returned to Katete. Here is her second report:
“I’m back in Katete now and working in Mbusa ward as usual. Still waiting for reopening of colleges in Malawi…there is no information yet as to when schools might open. Malawian youths have not received the prolonged closure well, they have been demanding for schools to open especially because the leadership has failed to adhere to safety measures, by holding public rallies in the name of preparing for the soon coming presidential elections. Twice the union leaders have met with high responsible authorities over the opening of schools and a task force has been created to give guidance on the matter. Hope we open soon. For me, I feel this is a new normal situation that we must adjust and live with otherwise everything might be on hold, economies may go down and a lot of programs lag behind…I’m not expecting a miraculous stoppage to the spread of the virus. The good news for our country is that the mortality rate from Covid-19 is very low, lower than malaria, pneumonia and the other diseases that have always been top on the list of fatalities. The sooner this is accepted, the better. Others still fear about opening of schools and having a prescribed normal living.
In Eastern province, we have not recorded any Covid-19 case yet but Covid screening is ongoing. So far, Zambia has recorded 920 cases and among these we have had 7 deaths…though some of them don’t rely qualify to me as one was a case of poisoning and Covid-19, another had an underlaying respiratory infection and cancer…
Schools are opening on 1st June but only for examination classes. This will be done under strict measures…classes will be separated to provide a meter of social distance and mandatory provision of face masks and hand washing facilities. Colleges and other grades beside these classes have not been provided for yet. Church gatherings were allowed as long as they maintain social distance and don’t exceed 50 per gathering but this has not been received by the church… Many have opted to continue with online services. Funeral gatherings are still restricted to 50. The hospitals are operating normally except that visitors and bed siders aren’t allowed…only one relative of a special case is allowed.
Travelling is not restricted but discouraged. Passengers have to wear mask during travel and on several locations, hand washing and checking of temperature is done. Those found to have Covid-19 symptoms are screened further and quarantined. Banks and especially company owned shops restrict entrance to only those with masks and sanitizing or hand washing is mandatory. Otherwise other shops aren’t as strict. Restaurants are open but not bars. Its thought to be difficult maintaining social distance when one is drunk.
The Tourism industry has been opened but they have to strictly adhere to guidelines for preventing spread of Covid-19.