BLANTRYE, MALAWI - Malawi president Lazarus Chakwera has asked men in Malawi to strictly follow COVID-19 preventive measures.
In his weekly national address, Saturday Chakwera said government statistics indicate that more men in the country are infected with the virus than women. Chakwera said this is largely because of the reckless behavior of many men in Malawi in observing measures aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19. President Chakwera said such an attitude defeats efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Chakwera said he is deeply concerned that most men in Malawi feel they are very strong and cannot contract the coronavirus.
“I am not concerned over this because I am a man, no. But the pandemic has shown that more people who are infected with coronavirus are men because in every 10 confirmed cases, seven of them are men,” he said.
Recent statistics from the Public Health Institute of Malawi also show that 64 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases are men.
Chakwera has therefore sent a special appeal to men in Malawi to start strictly observing measures against spread of COVID-19 which include the wearing of face coverings, washing hands with soap or applying hand sanitizers and observing social distance.
Chakwera says “On behalf of all men, I should say all women should be reminding us men to follow these preventive measures because what we want is to successfully fight this pandemic to build the COVID-free new Malawi nation,” he said.
Social commentator Humphreys Mvula told VOA that men in the country are at higher risk of contracting coronavirus, saying they engage in riskier behavior than women.
He says a large number of men in Malawi usually frequent drinking joints and are too adventurous despite the COVID- 19 threat.
“Our women on the other hand conservatism in Malawians women is great. Generally whatever the age a Malawian woman will go from work to home; will go from school to home; will go from a specific undertaking back home. And they are also very fearful, look; most of them are more God fearing than men,” he said.
Dorothy Ngoma, a public health expert and a health rights campaigner in Malawi, spoke to VOA on the matter.
“More men tend to smoke so their lungs are weaker," she said. "They drink a lot more and also when they are sick or they have a fever if it’s not serious, it’s mild, they will still go to work unless they are very, very sick they cannot get up. As opposed to women, when women are sick, they say it loud that they are not feeling well, they will seek treatment and they will stay home.”
Ngoma said there is a need to put measures in place that would help men strictly follow COVID-19 preventive measures.
These measures, she says should include imposing an instant fine on those found ignoring the guidelines.