Zomba, Chancellor College Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, Adamson Muula and Microbiologist in the Department of Biology Sciences, Dr Placid Mpeketula on Tuesday evening hosted a public lecture on the country’s position on Coronavirus.
The two professionals made two presentations on Global and Public Health aspects of COVID-19: Should we be more concerned? Seconded by COVID- 19: Structure, mechanism of infection and target for therapeutic interventions which later received reactions from the audience that was keen to learn more about the virus.
Among areas of concerns, the public wanted to know how prepared the country is to contain the virus once it is detected, how is Malawi handling people entering the country by air and roads and through unchartered routes, how safe is an unborn child born from a mother with Coronavirus.
A panel consisting of Professor Muula, Dr Mpeketula, Associate Professor Dylo Pemba, Dr Peter Kip and Lucious Kalonga of Chancellor College Clinic responded to questions from the audience in the Great Hall.
The panellists assured the audience about Malawi’s collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other partners to contain the virus and equip major health facilities to do the tests on clients.
In an interview, Professor Muula, however, called on the general public to adhere to recommendations from health care providers which emphasizes adherence to preventive measures such as hand washing (with soap) and avoiding handshakes to avoid transmitting the virus.
“Let’s take precautionary measures to stop the spread of the Coronavirus in the advent that it is detected in the country,” he said adding that the public should think twice whether it is ideal to continue with handshaking at this time when the tendency is globally avoided.
He then called on local authorities to ensure water is provided in public places such as schools to allow the public to practice the hand washing.
In another interview, Dean of Science at Chancellor College Associate Professor, Chomora Mikeka said the college’s Faculty of Science and College of Medicine and Community Health Surveillance Unit in Lilongwe are set to test samples to detect the virus.
“University of Malawi’s Faculty of Science has the capacity to test samples to detect the virus,” said Associate Professor Chomora.
He added that the faculty has capable technicians and laboratory equipment enough to be a reliable testing facility
Coronavirus was first detected in China’s Wuhan City where it claimed many lives before spreading globally as far as Africa.
Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal, Cameron, Togo, DR Congo and South Africa have recorded cases of people testing positive on Coronavirus and several measures including quarantines have been put in place to stop further spread of the virus
President Peter Mutharika recently directed the appointment of a special cabinet committee including ministries of health and Population, Disaster Management Affairs and Public Events, Finance and Economic Planning, Defence and Foreign Affairs responsible to assess the impact and oversee a cross-government response to the threat posed by the virus