Covid-19: Health workers complain over insults from community members


Health workers in Thyolo have complained that they have been receiving insults from community members who wrongly accuse the health workers of transmitting the coronavirus.

Among health workers subjected to insults are Health Surveillance Assistants (HSA) personnel who work in communities.

In an interview, one of the HSAs, Beatrice Chimpeni, who operates in the area of Sub-Traditional Authority Kamoto, Senior Chief Chimaliro in Thyolo district, said she has been facing unstoppable insults since this pandemic confirmed in Malawi.

“Since cases of COVID-19 were confirmed up to date, I and my colleague, we are receiving different kinds of insults from community members. They say we are the ones transmitting Coronavirus. Others speak abusive words saying we are dogs, monkeys, witches,” Chimpeni complained.

Chimpeni added that what has sparked the fire was the issue derived from rumours that in the area, there is a person who returned from Mozambique but did not undergo screening measures at the border as he used shortcuts to enter Malawi.

After Chimpeni did a pilot surveillance, she noticed that the person had non-stop coughing and reported the matter to health team who went and collected blood samples (specimens) from the person to be tested at laboratory in Blantyre.

This did not please the community members and since then Chimpeni and her colleague have been receiving threats and insults from community members.

“Each and everyday people are threatening to kill us and they say we will see catastrophe.  As I am speaking, my colleague has gone to the mountain to pray for God’s intervention to take away our insults,” Chimpeni lamented.

She said that she tried to report the matter to authorities such as chiefs and police but nothing was done and she is now contemplating on quitting her job.

However, Chimpeni urged government to intervene with serious action and she has promised to take issue to court if government fails.

Jackson Chaima, who is a nurse and midwife technician (NMT) at Chingadzi hospital in Thyolo, concurred with Chimpeni on insults they receive from community members.

In a related development, there are reports that nurses, HSAs and other health workers and other districts are being shunned away by community members to the extent of being evicted from houses and denied to board public transport such as minibuses due to the pandemic.