President Lazarus Chakwera has faulted the Ministry of Health for failing to anticipate and mitigate against shortage of Covid-19 vaccine which he says has now left Malawi vulnerable and exposed.
Chakwera was speaking in Machinga at the official launch of ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me Campaign.’
He noted that people are anxious over the shortage of Covid-19 vaccine in vaccination centres across the country.The president blamed the Ministry of Health for failing to put in place measures to avoid the situation.
“Our dependence on other countries to give us free vaccines and the demand for vaccines in those countries occasioned by a third wave of the pandemic has left us vulnerable, exposed. That is something the ministry should have anticipated and mitigated against,” said Chakwera.
He then told Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda to work closely with COVAX facility and other donors to secure vaccines before August.
The Malawi leader added that the Minister should have already secured new partnerships and he advised her to pursue other vaccines beyond AstraZeneca vaccine which is currently being administered in the county.
Chakwera also criticized civil servants, saying Malawi has many friends and well-wishers including countries and corporations but the government officials are stuck in old ways and are not open minded hence slowing the country’s progress.
He said: “I expect my ministers, principal secretaries, department heads to think outside the box, create new solutions to challenges that we face.
“A country, what we need are new ideas not stale ideas that keep us going in round circles.”
Malawi is facing a shortage of vaccines at a time when the number of daily cases has also started to increase. Ministry of Health data shows that 383,726 and 38,782 people have received the first dose and second dose respectively. A total of 422,508 vaccine doses have been administered in the country so far.