Council assures partners of favorable working environment

Mangochi, May 8: The Mangochi District Council has assured development partners operating in the local authority that it will continue to strive at creating a conducive working environment for different players to effectively improve people’s living standards.

The assurance was made Friday by Principal Administrative Officer (PAO) for Mangochi District Council, Dominic Mwandira when a development arm of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi (ELCM) presented a petition on the eradication of malaria in the country.

Mwandira observed that government recognizes and appreciates the significant role that different development partners play in complementing it in various social services like health, education and agriculture among others.

It is in the interest of the council and indeed in the interest of people of Mangochi whom we serve that we should always create a platform where religious and civil society organizations should operate for the betterment of people’s lives, said Mwandira.

The PAO pointed out that as government it cannot carry out all the development programmes on its own, as such, it relies on partners to complement it in areas where there are shortfalls.

He, therefore, said it was the expectation of the council that, together with communities in affected areas of the district, it would help ELCM to reduce or eradicate the prevalence of malaria.

While the council and communities will be doing their part, we expect churches, in particular, to continue supporting government in its drive to provide quality health services, said Mwandira quoting Proverbs 3: Verse 28 as a reference point.

Speaking before presenting the petition to the council, head of ELCM in Malawi Bishop Dr. Joseph Bvumbwe said it was in the interest of the church to fight malaria from the community level through capacity building of Health Surveillance Assistants (HASs) and the involvement of village health committees.

Bvumbwe said since the ELCM started advocating for improvement in the health sector, especially in malaria control programme, there has been some positive developments, citing introduction of malaria rapid diagnostic testing and communities’ response to the initiative.

Since we started this campaign, we have seen a sharp increase in availability of malaria drugs at village clinics. We would like government to embark on indoor residual spraying whose purpose is to deal with high malaria prone areas, added Bvumbwe.

However, Bvumbwe appealed to government to secure the drugs and ensure that those involved in drug pilferage face the long arm of the law to protect ordinary citizens.

He disclosed that this was not the first time ELCM has petitioned government on health related matters, pointing out that the church has in the past engaged government to improve the sector with similar interventions at Monkey Bay Community Hospital.

This petition is pleading for people in hard to reach areas who have difficulties in accessing health services and sometimes facilities are far apart from each other and not functional like at Mandimba, Namikango and Thumu, said Bvumbwe.

He thanked government for its efforts in eradicating malaria, claiming that ELCM has contributed at least 20 percent to such efforts through its malaria control programme.

Sub�Regional Malaria Coordinator for six Southern African Development Community (SADC) Countries of Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Shoni Ngobeni Lucsa said Malawi was a shining star in terms of malaria prevention since it has managed to deal with myths associated with the disease where people associated it with witchcraft.

Although the economies of the SADC countries pose challenges for implementation of strategies, Malawi seems to be in the forefront in winning the battle against malaria, Lucsa pointed out.

Source: Malawi News Agency � MANA