Medical expert says schools should remain open


A medical expert says Malawi has not reached the stage of closing schools despite a recent rise in Coronavirus cases.

Epidemiologist Dr Titus Divala said there are a lot of issues, including non-compliance to preventive measures, that need to resolved before taking the decision of closing schools.

“On calls to close schools, I am afraid we haven’t really gotten there yet. This is my personal opinion and am willing to be challenged. I think we risk failing our children again.

“If we close schools now, without addressing the so many other and easy issues and non-compliances, we would be bordering around injustice yet again.

“Adults have got to be responsible first by having and following a clear plan,” said Divala in a Facebook post.

The Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) has also argued that schools should remain open. According to CSEC Executive Director Benedicto Kondowe, closure of schools will lead to consequences that will affect the education sector for decades.

On its part, the NGO-Gender Coordination Network has noted that closure of schools last year resulted in an increase child sexual abuse cases.

Malawi closed schools in March last year before Coronavirus cases had been recorded in the country. Schools were reopened on September 7 and learning institutions were urged to follow Coronavirus prevention measures.

Since the new year, Malawi has registered over 2500 Coronavirus cases. There were 6,583 as of 31 December 2020 but the total number of cases as of Tuesday was 9,400. The number of deaths has also jumped from a total of 189 deaths as of 31 December to 254 as of yesterday.

On Tuesday, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition called on the government to close schools arguing that the new wave of the Coronavirus pandemic is affecting all age groups.