Showing posts from 2007

Why I have been idle

December is a busy month, we lost Kanyama Chiume, we were commemorating the death of Kamuzu, World Aids Day, the Global Health Council announced Malawi as a site for the first ever candlelight memorial day, then there are coupons, politics, James Phiri. I would love to make a comment. Yesterday Malawi admitted that we dont have statistics based on a reliable survey to examine the extent of the multi-drug resistant TB. Of course Blantyre hada cholera scare after water went AWOL. The UDF convention has been postponeed. I had to attend the Media Institute AGM and of course work on African Healthcare Journalists Network. I am also working on the candle ligt media programme from January. Then UNICEF/MISA Child Health and PMMCCT programme that will culminate into various awards. I am sure its been busy for most people. However, early next week I should be able to tell what I will be doing come 2008 and that will determine how I can respond to issues in Health, Journalism and Africa. If I don

Some places

I am no longer sure if joining a public service to reach out to masses would be measured by what one gets as a reward. Low pay in public service such as my work place and then when you want to put stories that will be of public importance, someone decides to engage in a verbal battle with the Judiciary. When I say some places, you ask yourself, why am I still here. Why cant I live a professional and fulfilling life. Why should I be associated with one of the worst forms of professionalism and be labelled as such when you walk around town. I have gone into serious thoughts about some place where I want to be Jaunary One. If you are a professional, it pains to see someone throwing the whole integrity and professionalism to dogs. I think, its time to be at some place. It was great to work home!!!!

HIV and Aids terminologies

UNAIDS has revised the acronyms once again, so now people living with HIV are called PLHIV, and young people living with HIV are implicitly called YPLHIV.Old acronyms were PLWHA, PLWA, PLWH, PWH and YPLWH, YLWH, YLWHA............It doesn't really matter at all, but I kind of like PLHIV because you can actually guess what PLHIV might refer to when you see it. Also, "with" is apreposition, so it shouldn't be included in the acronym. =) In case you are interested, the attached document is actually quite good, and discusses some of the stigma that results from the terminology that hasbeen used in the past."PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIVAvoid the expression 'people living with HIV and AIDS' and the abbreviation PLWHA. With reference to those living with HIV, it is preferable to avoid certain terms: AIDS patient should only be used in amedical context (most of the time, a person with AIDS is not in the role of patient); the term AIDS victim or AIDS sufferer implies tha

African Journalism and Health

Am in Cape Town for the biggest Cancer meet on African continent. The focus is finding solutions to a growing problem of cancer, worsned by HIV and Aids especially Kaposis Sarcoma which has been on the rise since Aids came into play. On average according to Dr. Albrecht, not the famous Gates Global Health fellow, but of CANSA Research unit, at least one thousand South Africans a reported to have cancer everyday. He estimates that 3,000 could be a daily figure in the Southern Africa region. Most men would develop the Kaposis Sarcoma, while women Breast and Cervical cancer are the highest common cancers among them. The statistics are frightening. And projections are that Cancer is back and rising fast that by 2020 it would be a leading cause of mortality even surpassing Aids, TB and Malaria. I learnt during my year at Harvard to be a skeptic of statistics. This was during my principles of epidemiology class with Dr. Elizabeth Buring. I am quite still a skeptic. But my mind wondered if a

My Take on Malawi Politics: John Tembo

I have arrived in Cape Town for a Cancer meeting. I immediately went around to make noise with some old freinds I have in this great city. Of course I posted my draft concept on a Health Network after observing that nobody was readidly available in Town to talk of Journalists and important they can be in delivering public health communication. As my thoughts run through this one, I immediately took my thoughts to one character that seems to be the god father of malawi politics. The Leader of Opposition John Zenus Ungapake Tembo. Despite his small stature there are alot of giants (in terms of height and body mass) who would simply want JZU as this Dedza man is fondly called by his admirers. He seems to have more people wishing him out than in. I leave the storis of his involvement in Malawi dark history moments to romour mongers. Dan Msowoya one time right hand man of Chakufwa Chihana gave me a quote which landed me in hot soup at the peak of Gwanda Chakuamba and JZU's politcal figh

African Healthcare Journalists Network- Concept Document

The African Healthcare Journalist Network –AHJN CONCEPT DOCUMENT Introduction African Health continues to defy medical successes that have been registered in some places around Globe. Both communicable and non-communicable diseases continue to threaten the gains made in other fields, especially the field of socio-economic development. Today, halfway through the implementation of the millennium goals, Africa remains a mixed bag of success and failure. Democracy has been rooted in many countries, while conflicts continue to prevail and threats of escalation being real in countries like Sudan, Somalia and Congo. Transfer of technologies in the medical field such as new combinations for Malaria, DOT for Tuberculosis and even roll out of Anti Retroviral Therapy for Aids patients while readily available in many African states the situation on the ground remains sketchy and many times the majority of rural people remain inaccessible. Information as has been recognised has helped to deliver

My Take on Malawi Politics part one, Bakili Muluzi should take a rest

I have just reported for my duties. I have close to 200 stories to tell, and your guess is right, mainly focusing on health. I just witnessed a horrible accident at the corner of Kamuzu Central Hospital where an innocent woman might lose her right arm due to a careless truck driver. No one talsk about it. I wish I had more time to follow such a story. Then I have been visiting a place in Kanengo where the Small Holder Farmers Fertiliser Fund is disposing some rotten maize seed from last season and other seasons. Sadly, though Malawi can boast of a great surplus of 1.3 million tonnes and afford to sell some of its maize to Zimbabwe and donate to Lesotho and Swaziland, many Malawians still do not have adequate food. The people around the dumping area are getting the rotten maize and clean in for their next meal. Then I have been busy. Cancer is on the agenda of my President after loosing the First Lady. I am informed a research and treatment centre will be built very soon. I have visite

Bingu wa Mutharika

In most people's mind, what I put onmy blog can affect my profession or that I would bootlick to get favours working for a public station. Unfortunately no! In my life, no one has made me. I have made myself. I started an organisation from a scratch, i become a Journalist with very basic training and now I can confortable claim global links which will propel me to some other level. But I believe in my country. I believe in Malawi and definately at this point where the hard working spirit has been rekindled by Bingu after the "kaunjika" and "handouts" story by the other regime. Much has been said about section 65 and now about Bingu proroguing the Budget sitting of Parliament which effectively closes the current session. I was one of those Malawians annoyed that for the first time in history we could confortably spend three months wasting 310 million kwacha discussion one item: section 65. The political benefits of this section and its relevance to our democracy

Zimbabwe, the first trip

I am home and resting. Another eventful journey through Zimbabwe and beyond. I know most would want to know how Zimbabwe is faring. How are things on the ground and how are people coping. I have learnt some Shona of course. Pinda motor meaning get into the bus and many others. I have visited bars and wonderful places that will make a long lasting impact. I have had a chance to pay my respects to the Heroes acre in Harare where Zimbabwe’s great sons such as Joshua Mkomo and Muzenda have found a permanent home. I have seen the grave of the Country’s First Lady Sally Mugabe, who I only saw smiling and charming whenever they visited Malawi. Of course the heroes acre reminded me as Malawi we still are yet to value our history. How many of our kids know who was our First Army General. How many know the story of Gweru dreams. How many can articulate the visions of John Chilembwe, Levi Ziliro Mumba and others. They died and we lost them. The remains of Chipemebere seem will never be brought ba

Some things are worth the time?

It has been sometime. Since the last blog in Cape Town, I have been to Zambia and Zimbabwe and each has a story to be told. I was back home breifly for a funeral and saw how been were carttoooning themselves. I return to Malawi soon via Zimbabwe and this blog will be live again. Its a promise for those that keep asking for more Kondwani

Mitigating Aids impact among the Youth: Lovelife SA

“I get laid in two days” Myth’s and challenges in delaying sexual debut My experiences with Love Life Being in Cape Town has it own fun. Thursday looks like was set to be one of those days where I would fill my blog with a million and one stories. I have come into contact with Love Life an adolescent and youth sexual socio-life skills development programme in South Africa that has exploited all means of mediums to reach to its young population. A session with Love Life Chief Executive Officer Dr. David Harrison is fascinating. I had several questions when I had an opportunity to jump into the Love Life train. Its not my first interaction with the programme, and I should say every time I do I learn new ideas, new innovative ways of tackling youth challenges posed by the HIV and Aids, poverty and general socio-economic environment. Guess what, the poor are the most affected, you say I know, but the people worst affected are the ones in the worst townships. In informal urban settings and

Cape Town, Aids Introduction

Thursday, 19 July 2007; Cape Town I have been in Cape Town since Monday night. The Kaiser Family Foundation kindly provided me a break from a grueling task of field work in Zambia for a refresher in HIV and Aids reporting. It was nice to meet my two work mates in Malawi, Frank Kapesa and Gladys Gandali from Television Malawi. Other country men Aubrey Mchulu of the Nation and Frank Kandu, of MBC again (Wow three MBC guys in a single event) were part of the main event. I also had a chance to meet one of Malawi's leading mental health Professor's Dr. Chiwoza Bandawe who was kind enough to visit us at our Hotel. He is based at the University of Cape Town. National Director of NAMISA Innocent Chitosi was also around so too Multi Choice Malawi MD Eddie Smith. The first two were among the entrants to the CNN/Multichoice African Journalist of the Year Awards. The Aids programme is also comprised of Journalists from South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Algeria, Congo DR, Mozam

My Zambian experiences(1)

After spending some ten days in a deep rural Zambia at Chisutu Health centre, witnessing immusation campaign and all sorts of health interventions by two health workers whose work shift is simply 24 hours, I returned to Chipata my base on Tuesday morning to replenish my cash coffers. Of course, credit cards, ATM or whatever mode of money technology doesn’t work in area where the basic needs include portable and clean water, treated bed nets and food. Chipata is mountainous though surrounding areas have good farm lands and Luangwa area some 2 hours drive has fish in abundance thanks to the river there. Health wise, as a provincial headquarters’ for the Eastern province Chipata has a lot to offer, lots of NGO’s, local and international, the Adventist run Mwami Hospital on the border with Malawi with a lot of specialists treatment. The hospital is famous for its eye specialists. I have also been talking to Health workers local and community based health assistants on how the needs of the

Home Sweet home

Its Just Great to be home. No internet for two weeks, just fun from Chiweta down to Mulanje. Stories and great photo's coming.

Madame Ethel Mutharika departs for Glory

I knew Madame Ethel Mutharika just like many ordinary Malawians did. She was wife to the then United Party President Bingu wa Mutharika. Though she never directly participated in politics. Later, we saw her in Area 18 at here relations and funerals and various church events. Just like her Husband Bingu, Malawi's First Lady was a dedicated Christian. She was a woman of faith, strong one for that matter. In her pain and suffering, she smiled, reached out to her women empowerment projects, did her farming and everyday from my City Centre office could see her four vehicle motorcade passing. Yet she smiled and her family opted to spare Malawians that pain and remained strong in discharging their duties. President Bingu wa Mutharika has carried his own family burden and that of the State without affecting the other. In many cases he sacrificed the love of his life for the burderns of the State. As I became privileged to cover the President, the more I realised how the President relied on

Malawi achievers, Foreign policy

Thandeka Mkandawire ranks among very few Malawians that have achieved much far and greater things that as a country we should have been proud and used their achievements for greater good. Recently the prestigious Rhodes University awarded him an honorary doctorate degree in recognizing his work and achievements. We have a young Malawian Joe Mlenga who will be joining the Rhodes community and this cannot be considered something that is expected. I wish to congratulate Prof. Mkandawire and Mlenga for the Rhodes Honours. This comes to mind how quickly our great poets and academics such as Jack Mapanje and David Rubadiri whom I have heard from so many people here at Harvard and beyond asking. Wole Sonyinka and others have become symbols of their nations and ambassadors promoting good. Apart from the two, people like Goodall Gondwe made an impact at the IMF, early May 2007 when I visited the institution I heard fascinating stories on how he used to move from office to office meeting his jun

Fare thee well Jafalie Mussa

Fare thee well Jafalie Mussa I am a youth worker to the core. As I write, My tenure as Country Representative to the Commonwealth was lessened by a year due to my Harvard Fellowship. I still retain for some mysterious reasons the title Country Coordinator for Malawi . Apart from that, I moderate the think-tank- Malawi National Youth Dialogue. I am still Chairman of the Youth Alliance in Social and Economic Development Board of Trustees. My good former Secretary General Rex Nyalugwe is a board member and acting Chairman in my absence. My term of office for Counselling of Adolescent Youth Organisation-CAYO just started and I am not sure when I will be removed. The same for the Presidential appointment as a Board Director at the National Youth Council of Malawi. That is the long list of my involvement in youth work in Malawi . With the incoming Deputy Minister of Transport and Housing Honourable Gift Mwamondwe, together we w

Malaria, DDT and the case of Poverty in Malawi

Malaria, DDT and the case of poverty Kondwani Munthali The recent reaction from Tobacco Association of Malawi on the use of DDT in houses as a malaria control measure cans least be described as shocking. Malaria remains the number one killer and cause of morbidity (illnesses) among Malawians. Contrary to popular opinion, it is Malaria and not Aids which is the number one killer both in Malawi and Africa. Up to one million Africans die each year from malaria. In Malawi, malaria is endemic meaning that everyone is at risk of suffering from malaria. Closer to seventy –percent of our hospital beds are occupied by malaria patients. It has dire socio-economic consequences than any other disease. Malaria has become regarded as both a disease of poverty and a cause of poverty, as it accounts for a large loss of labor productivity. Local and international political commitments have been made to address the challenges that African nations must overcome to control epidemic and endemic malar

A Critical, Independent and Investigative Press in Africa

A Critical, Independent and Investigative Press The Media in Malawi and Southern Africa Boston University, April 3, 2007 Introduction The use of media or its existence in Africa, started in earnest in the late 1800, after missionaries from Portugal, Britain, Italy and Belgium had set up schools and educated a umber of Africans in basic reading and writing. Though there was some trading, like Diamond and Gold in Rhodesia, South Africa and other parts, reading and writing in Sub-Saharan Africa was mainly used for preaching and distributing the word of God. Later between 1880-1899, Africa was partitioned in what became to be known as “the scramble of Africa.” The five major colonial powers that would influence both history and the future of the media in the next century were United Kingdom, Germany, Portugal, Belgium, France and Italy. The split of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa ended up dividing much of the region in the following order: United Kingdom