Dieser Blogeintrag wurde von Mary Melo, einer ZIKOMO Studentin in Malawi, verfasst. Sie berichtet von den Auswirkungen von COVID-19 in Malawi.
How COVID-19 affects Malawi
IMPACTS ON LIVELIHOOD
Majority of people in Malawi depend on agriculture or small scale trading, more especially rural dwellers, who depend much on agriculture. There was a sense that there has not been any impact on their livelihoods. However, those who depend on small business like charcoal vending, and those who make baskets among others have noticed how their business are struggling as their customers are restricting their movements or else they don’t have money to buy from them since the economy is in shambles. People are resolving it by fetching firewood in the bushes for cooking rather than buying charcoal. Those who depend on casual labor (ganyu) identified how their opportunities are drying up. A good number of companies in semi urban areas are also downsizing. They are not providing new opportunities for long term. There is also an increase in transport costs among others. It has also been noticed on how some goods which has been bought in different markets where the transport costs are high due to COVID-19.
ACCESS TO FOOD
Eating habits have changed too. This has been driven by reduction in peoples‘ ability to earn an income and on the other hand by increase in prices of commodities at the market.
Most of commodities prices has been changing, for example with 100 kwacha one was able to buy a bundle of 5 mustard leaves but now with the same 100 kwacha, it’s only a bundle of 3mustard leaves that one can buy. The fish which people used to buy at 200 kwacha its now at 300 kwacha (Mwembe 2020). This is so because of the distance that is being covered by people to bring these goods to the market and increase in transport costs. Much price change has been seen in the prices of Maize, fish, rice, and cooking oil among others.
ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE
It has been seen that although restrictions have been put in place to manage the spread of corona virus, its spread has been affecting people’s decision on whether to access health services. Most people are afraid to access health services fearing that they might contract COVID-19. In the same context, some health services have been suspended to boost personnel and infrastructure in the fight against COVID which is reducing the effort on the fight against other diseases. Good example is the fistula Centre which has been closed at Bwaila hospital and its facility turned to COVID-19 Centre there by forcing crowds of fistula patients to be suffering in silence.
EDUCATION AND CHILDREN
In many areas, there has been a sense that children are the ones to suffer much and with all children currently out of school directly impacting on their education. After the first school closure, it was said that all schools will be reopened on 13 July 2020. The date was postponed due to the increase in COVID-19 cases. Due to this; children have been loitering around compared to when they were preoccupied with their education activities. The government made available education materials during the school closure period. Number of students have been struggling to access these materials. It is hard for them to access online materials. A lot of children also lost focus in education. Due to financial complications brought by COVID-19, some students have lost hope if they will continue with their education. For example, a certain student at Mzuzu university who is in level three lost his hope whether he will complete this semester or withdraw because he has been facing financial problems as COVID-19 has disturbed his business he used to support himself as a student. On top of all the negative impacts felt by everyone, the impacts in some girls is totally a life changing. A good number of school girls in most areas faces early pregnancies during the school closure and others even getting married which means there will be no hope of return to school soon.
As it is well known that COVID-19 has brought a lot of impacts to Malawians, Malawis government have put in place some prevention measure to avoid the spread of COVID. Such as wearing mask, introducing a ban on public gathering of more than 100 people and intensify information, education, and communication campaigns around many areas to raise awareness about COVID-19 prevention and management measures.
by Mary Melo
Mwembe, G (2020) The impact of COVID 19 on the poorest. research paper 2: Malawi