The National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) has appealed to government to make masks affordable and accessible to all Malawians.
NICE Executive Director, Ollen Mwalubunju has made the appeal in a statement released today, Thursday, following the increased number of people testing positive for COVID-19 and COVID-19 related deaths in the country.
He said government should roll out a free mask distribution exercise through donations or procure the masks using government resources.
He also called upon the private sector to donate already made masks or materials for making masks.
Mwalubunju has also appealed to all Malawians to take their part in fighting against the Pandemic by following all the preventive measures.
“In order to confront this common enemy, let us all join hands with government in the fight against the enemy. We appeal to political, traditional, civil society, faith based leaders and government to provide the much needed leadership in awareness raising of the Pandemic, Citizens’ engagement and enforcement of regulations for the prevention of COVID19,” reads the statement.
He also appealed to those handling the COVID19 funds to be transparent and accountable and also make sure it is used for the intended purpose.
Mwalubunju also called upon all Malawians to be vigilant and monitor the use of funds and any abuse observed should be reported to the authorities and any corrupt practices to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
He continued by appealing to government to increase COVID19 testing centers to ensure they are accessible, affordable, effective and efficient.
“The experience now is very retrogressive where when one goes for voluntary testing, they are told that either facilities have run out of testing kits or they are only testing those who are symptomatic,” he said.
He expressed fear that a majority of asymptomatic cases might be loitering around spreading the virus due to lack of adequate testing facilities.
For the majority poor Malawians living on less than a dollar a day, a mask or face shields is considered luxurious.
Most disposable masks cost US $ 0.50 (MK 300) while reusable ones cost in the ranges of $ 1.50 (K 900) to US $ 2.00 (MK 1, 200).