By Solister Mogha – Mana.
Dust has finally settled between Department of Disaster and Preparedness (DODMA) and community members surrounding Domasi College in Zomba on the use of the institution as an isolation centre for people repatriated from South Africa.
As a preventive measure for Covid 19, Government had earlier this year directed that three centres in the country namely; Domasi College of Education in Zomba, Machinga Teachers Training College in Machinga and Nalikule Teachers Training College in Lilongwe be used as isolation centres to test and temporarily quarantine those coming from South Africa before being released to the community.
There was discomfort among people of Domasi to accept the news and allow the College being used an isolation centre.
Member of Parliament for Zomba Malosa, Grace Kwelepeta said most of the community members were worried by the establishment of the centre as it posed a danger to them.
She noted lack of proper communication as another challenge that contributed to misunderstandings between the community and those involved in handling of the Covid- 19 issues.
“Everyone knows how deadly this disease is. Our biggest worry was that our friends from South Africa once they arrive, they were able to freely interact with people in the community without controls. They have always littered the place and this was another danger to the community since the disease can spread through contact of infected surfaces,” Kwelepeta added.
She pointed out that, “What we needed was a briefing like this one so that we discuss and agree on the way forward. This should be a lesson to us all that we at all times involve the community when dealing with issues of Covid-19.”
The Parliamentarian hastened to say, people of Domasi were not refusing to governments orders but what they needed was an assurance of their safety knowing they were close to people suspected to have Covid-19.
Senior Chief Malemia assured of his support to ensure that the center is safe for his people.
Dodma’s Director of Response and Recovery, Rev. Moses Chimphepo commended the community for their understanding and this would improve on the smooth processing of repatriates.
He said Dodma would do all it can to ensure lives of people of Domasi was protected from the disease.
“We have taken note of the concerns, we will consider them where we can and provide maximum protection,” Chimphepo added.
District Commissioner (DC) for Zomba, Dr Smart Gwendemula appealed to the community to report on anything they find or notice is un-necessary.
Malawi living in South Africa are finding it difficult to cope with the lock-down strategy and many have since decided to come back home. G
Government facilitated clearance of their travel and provides security from Mwanza border to the three isolation centres.