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Lilongwe (Agenzia Fides)-“Poverty is ever more serious, out of all proportion, each new day brings more bad news” Fides is informed in a report from Italian Monfort missionary Fr. Piergiorgio Gamba, for several decades on mission in Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world.
“Today- Fr. Gamba says – at Balaka Hospital not even the most basic drugs were available. Patients receive a prescription which they must to take to private hospitals to obtain the medicine ”. Wards appear increasingly like isolation areas for contagious infections, with few signs of hope for recovery. Today, again, the three daily meals of polenta and beans were reduced to one in the whole day. Half a million HIV positive patients who receive antiretroviral drugs have their lives prolonged, but risk developing cancer and diabetes: in Malawi there is only one oncologist and practically no insulin to be had, when it is necessary to turn if possible, to the use of pills only.
A new school year starts on 7 September and many families will find it difficult to pay fees that increase overnight. A nurses training course which until yesterday cost 150.000 Malawi Kwacha, in just one night rose to 850.000 Kwacha because the government can no longer subsidise training courses offered by the Christian Hospital Association Malawi, an ecumenical service which covers more than 50% of the country’s healthcare.
ESCOM electricity company that supplies power to the country has told the 14% of the population which has access to electricity to prepare for a period of four months blackout. Four long months until the next rain season raises the level of Lake Malawi and gives the River Shire sufficient water to allow continuous production of electrical power.
The shortage of corn at markets, due to floods which destroyed one third of the harvest, is increasingly visible, continues Fr. Gamba.
“These few items of information suffice to tell of a country adrift. Abandoned by all donor countries with the intent of punishing spreading corruption and which had in the Cashgate scandal (theft by local officials of funds donated from abroad)- one of the reasons for the poverty which has struck the country” says Fr. Gamba. “Frustration is a hard test for the peaceful character of these people. Some say, or whisper, that even the simplest fact might prove to be the last straw … with uncontrollable consequences” concludes the missionary. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 18/8/2015)