Mchinji — Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) has underscored the need to equip frontline health workers with new skills and information about COVID-19 on a regular basis.
The sentiments came to limelight on Tuesday in Mchinji during the opening of a two-day refresher course for the district's Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs) organised by MHEN under a special project on promoting COVID-19 prevention.
According to MHEN Project Manager, Davies Mwachumu, the refresher course for the HSAs was a continuation of one of the project's activities that aims at training health workers at all levels.
"As you may be aware, COVID-19 is a novel disease and as such, there is need to equip frontline health workers like these HSAs with new developments or information about the disease from time to time," he said.
He said Mchinji HSAs were a third group of key health workers to receive such training after they had conducted similar trainings for nurses and medical assistants.
"Overall, these trainings aim at complementing the efforts that the Malawi Government, through the Ministry of Health is doing to remove the threat of COVID-19 disease that has so far claimed a number of lives in the country," said Mwachumu.
He said they have prioritised border districts of Mchinji, Ntcheu, Dedza and the squatter settlements in all the four cities of the country.
"We took into consideration that transmission of the disease is more likely to spread due to importation of cases, especially for those that use uncharted routes to enter the country," he said.
Mwachumu said under the project, they have also shared COVID-19 prevention messages by conducting awareness meetings.
They also intend to buy personal protection equipment for the health workers in the targeted districts by November, this year.
According to Assistant Environmental Health Officer for Mchinji District Hospital, Limbani Makawa and one of the facilitators for the training, the project will complement efforts being undertaken by Mchinji District Hospital.
"It would not be okay for us to relax on preventative measures just because we have not been registering many new cases of COVID-19 as before," he said.
"Speaking on behalf of fellow environmental health officers in the district, I commend MHEN for increasing our capacity to conduct this training," he said.
Dziwenji Mbosanje, one of the participating HSAs said the refresher course was beneficial as she had been updated on new information regarding COVID-19 transmission.
"For instance, that the COVID-19 virus can be active say, on a surface for as long as 72 hours and not nine hours as previously communicated," she said.
The project on promoting COVID-19 prevention was funded by Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA).