President Lazarus Chakwera’s administration has been challenged to update Malawians on how funds meant for the cholera response in Malawi have been used.
Centre for Democracy and Development Initiatives (CDEDI) executive director Sylvester Namiwa made the remarks on Friday when his organisation donated handwashing supplies and tree seedlings to Mchitanjiru Primary School, in Traditional Authority Tsamba’s area in Lilongwe district.
He said cholera, which has killed over 10,90 people in Malawi, has hit hard because health facilities in the country lack the necessary supplies to fight the disease.
Namiwa noted that the presidential taskforce on cholera and Covid-19 recently asked well-wishers to donate money and supplies to the country. He said there is need for transparency and accountability on how much has been received and how the funds have been spent and where.
According to Namiwa, this is important because the Chakwera administration released K6.2 billion in 2020 and K17.5 billion in 2021 meant for Covid-19 but some of the funds were stolen.
“We should demand transparency at all levels of governance. We cannot sit back and watch. Over 1,000 lives have been lost and the president is acting as if it is business as usual when actually we are dealing with a crisis,” said Namiwa.
At Mchitanjiru, CDEDI has donated 10 cartons of tablet soap, 5 tap buckets, 16 basins, 16 stands, and chlorine. They are aimed at helping to prevent the further spread of cholera in the country.
CDEDI has also donated 500 mahogany tree seedlings and 50 fruit tree seedlings which are expected to be planted at the school.
Speaking after receiving the donation, Mchitanjiru Primary School’s deputy headteacher Stella Master said the school lacked basins and stands for the tap buckets but with the items, the handwashing situation has improved.
She emphasized the importance of handwashing at the school considering that this month a standard two learner died of cholera.
On the seedlings, Master said the school will work with chiefs and parents to ensure that the trees which have been planted are taken care of.
Chief Golombe of the area said people in the area are experiencing various challenges due lack of trees hence the community will work with the school to ensure that the donated trees grow.
He added that as one way of protecting trees in the area, they have been planting trees and any person found cutting a tree is ordered to pay a fine.
On his part, Namiwa said the school is a few kilometres from a waste dumping site and that is why there is a need for children to observe hygiene practices in order to be protected.
In Malawi, over 30,000 cholera cases have been recorded since March last year. The disease has killed 1,093 people during the same period.
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