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Josephine Chinele

Blantyre, Malawi
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About Josephine
Josephine Chinele is a Freelance, Multi-Award winning  journalist.
Video Package (Web / Broadcast) Vox Pop News Gathering
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Wild polio returns to Africa: How the GPEI is helping stop an outbreak from becoming an inferno

04 Apr 2024  |  gavi.org
The article discusses a resurgence of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) in Malawi, despite the WHO African Region being declared wild polio-free in August 2020. Dr Modjirom Ndoutabe, Polio Rapid Response Team Coordinator at WHO AFRO, details the challenges faced in combating the virus, which has also been found in Mozambique. The virus strain in Malawi was linked to a Pakistani strain from 2019. The response included a massive vaccination campaign, with challenges such as community resistance and difficult geography. The article highlights the dedication of health workers and the importance of consistent, sustainable routine immunization to prevent the spread of polio. It also emphasizes the global nature of the threat, as polio anywhere is a threat to children everywhere.

Cholera vaccine slows down prolonged outbreak in Malawi

04 Apr 2024  |  gavi.org
Malawi is experiencing an unusual winter cholera outbreak, with 40 deaths and 857 cases reported by the Ministry of Health as of 13 July. The outbreak's persistence is partly due to damage from tropical storms and climate change effects, as explained by Prof Adamson Muula from Kamuzu University of Health Sciences. The Ministry of Health and local officials like Adrian Chikumbe and Penjani Chunda discuss the challenges of water safety, sanitation, and vaccination efforts. A vaccination campaign was launched in May 2022 with support from WHO, Gavi, and UNICEF, targeting 1.9 million people. Despite these efforts, the fatality rate is concerning, with a national average of 4.77 percent. Community leaders and WHO representatives emphasize the need for better water and sanitation to prevent such diseases.

Malawi’s worst cholera epidemic in decades sparks massive demand for vaccines

04 Apr 2024  |  gavi.org
Esmie Mwanga, a resident of Bangwe Ntopwa in Blantyre, Malawi, sought cholera vaccination for her family amidst a severe outbreak that has claimed lives in her community. Malawi, facing a cholera epidemic since March 2022, has seen rising cases and deaths, prompting a second round of vaccinations after an initial campaign in May. The country received 2.9 million doses from the Gavi-supported Global Oral Cholera Vaccine Stockpile. High demand for vaccines in hard-hit districts has led to a strategic pivot in the vaccination campaign. The outbreak, exacerbated by the rainy season, has also affected the education sector, with school openings delayed to implement water, sanitation, and hygiene assessments. The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education are encouraging vaccinations for children, while UNICEF emphasizes the threat to children's health and wellbeing.

Malawi: unintended consequences

04 Apr 2024  |  gga.org
The article discusses the unintended consequences of prolonged school closures in Malawi due to the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting a significant increase in teenage pregnancies and early marriages. With schools shut since March, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology reports 18,000 teen pregnancies among primary school learners and 3,931 among secondary school learners. NGOs and community activists express concern over the neglect of youth sexual reproductive health. The article features comments from various stakeholders, including NGO representatives, youth network chairpersons, traditional leaders, and government officials, who emphasize the need for a multi-sectoral approach to address these issues. The Ministry of Health has noted a decline in young people accessing sexual reproductive health services, and the Minister of Gender is working with traditional leaders to dissolve child marriages and ensure girls return to school.

From COVID-19 to cholera: Malawi’s health workers fight to get immunisation back on track

04 Apr 2024  |  gavi.org
The article discusses the challenges faced by health workers in Malawi, particularly in the Mulanje district, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a concurrent cholera outbreak. Health Surveillance Assistant Sosten Kalumo and IDSR worker Masilina Msamanyada describe being over-stretched, working beyond regular hours, and dealing with vaccine hesitancy. The country has been fighting cholera for 50 years, with the current outbreak lasting over a year. The Ministry of Health, with support from Gavi and other partners, is rolling out oral cholera vaccines. Malawi also received additional cholera vaccination doses from the ICG. The article highlights the impact of Tropical Cyclone Freddy on health and sanitation, the importance of routine immunization, and the efforts to combat misinformation and rebuild trust in vaccines. Health experts like Dr Mike Chisema and Maziko Matemba emphasize the need for community engagement and education to improve vaccine uptake.

Sunny with a chance of cyclones: Malawi’s cold chain goes solar-powered

04 Apr 2024  |  gavi.org
The article discusses the impact of Cyclone Freddy on the Chabvala Health Centre in Malawi, which disrupted routine immunisation due to damage to the facility's infrastructure, including the loss of its only fridge. The clinic, already difficult to access, faced further challenges with vaccine supply and maintaining the cold chain necessary for vaccine potency. However, the introduction of a solar-powered fridge has improved the situation, ensuring vaccine safety and uninterrupted immunisation services. UNICEF has been installing solar-powered fridges across Malawi since October 2021, with over 450 fridges installed to date. The article also touches on the broader issue of climate change and its increasing impact on Malawi, as noted by climate change expert Dr. Barbara Ntapala. The solarisation of health facilities is seen as a resilient solution to maintaining vaccine cold chains amid power outages and natural disasters.

Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse Face Obstacles in Malawi's Justice System

04 Apr 2024  |  mwnation.com
The article by Josephine Chinele focuses on the challenges faced by survivors of child sexual abuse in Malawi in accessing justice. It narrates the story of a woman, Chiyanjano, whose husband was convicted of sexually abusing their nine-year-old daughter. Despite the husband's 21-year jail sentence, Chiyanjano faces harassment from her in-laws and fears for her safety as her husband continues to contact her from prison. The article also touches on societal pressures that lead to the concealment of sexual abuse, the reluctance of authorities to act, and the inefficiencies in the reporting process. The national police spokesperson, Peter Kalaya, acknowledges the widespread issue and the harassment faced by complainants. Maggie Kathewera-Banda from the Women’s Legal Resource Centre advocates for societal change and the prosecution of those who conceal such crimes. The article calls for improved reporting mechanisms and financial support for survivors.

Malawi health workers lead in COVID-19 vaccination

04 Apr 2024  |  gavi.org
The article discusses the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Malawi, which began in March 2021, focusing on frontline health workers. With 83% of this group now vaccinated, there is a sense of relief among them. Memory Ngwira, a senior Nursing Officer at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH), shares her harrowing experiences during the pandemic's peak and how the vaccine has brought comfort. Despite the success, there are still concerns about vaccine hesitancy among health workers. Dr. Samson Mndolo, QECH Hospital Director, mentions efforts to educate and encourage vaccination among staff. Health expert Prof. Maureen Chirwa emphasizes the need for continued health education for the remaining unvaccinated health workers. Ministry of Health spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe acknowledges the effectiveness of the vaccine, noting that most patients who died from COVID-19 were unvaccinated, but stresses that vaccination remains voluntary.

How dedicated officials help the public from within

04 Apr 2024  |  africauncensored.online
The article discusses the exceptional work of public servants in various African countries who provide effective services despite systemic corruption and mismanagement. In Malawi, nurse Immaculate Chamangwana improved the Zomba Mental Hospital by advocating for more funding and implementing standards for accountability. In Nigeria, Adedamola Dada transformed the Federal Medical Centre Ebute-Metta with better management practices. Ghana's State Transport Company was revived by Nana Akomea, who focused on customer service. Uganda's driver's license office saw improvements ordered by President Museveni, with efficient processes and no bribery. Lastly, in Kenya, Governor Muthomi Njuki supported health volunteers and emergency services, leading to a more effective public service. The article highlights the lack of political will to replicate these successes and the challenges faced by good civil servants. It is part of a transnational investigation by ZAM Magazine into effective public service in Africa.

Excitement builds in Malawi for malaria vaccine launch

04 Apr 2024  |  gavi.org
The article discusses the world's first malaria vaccine program, piloted in Malawi, Kenya, and Ghana since 2019, with over a million children vaccinated. Faith Mwafulirwa's child, who received the vaccine, has not been hospitalized for malaria, unlike her other children at the same age. Malawi's Ministry of Health reports that malaria is the leading cause of death in the country. The vaccine, RTS,S, developed by GlaxoSmithKline in partnership with PATH and supported by Gavi, has been recommended by the WHO. Despite its lower efficacy, it is seen as a crucial preventive measure. The article also mentions the 'Zero Malaria Starts with Me' campaign launched by Malawi's president, aiming for a malaria-free Africa by 2030.

A slave by any other name is still a slave

04 Apr 2024  |  gga.org
The article discusses the plight of Malawians, particularly women and girls, who are trafficked for forced labour and sexual exploitation to Middle East countries and neighbouring African nations. Victims are lured with false promises of high wages and respectable jobs but end up in conditions akin to slavery. The article includes personal accounts from victims, one of whom was deceived into going to Kuwait instead of Dubai and faced inhumane working conditions without pay. Malawi Police Service and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime acknowledge the issue, with the latter pointing out the role of corrupt officials in facilitating human trafficking. Efforts by the Malawi government to repatriate and protect its citizens are mentioned, including negotiations with Oman and plans for bilateral labour agreements. The article also highlights the challenges faced by Malawian women imprisoned in Kuwait and the sexual abuses reported in Oman.

How dedicated officials help the public from within corrupted systems

23 Oct 2023  |  zammagazine.com
The article investigates how some public servants in various African countries manage to provide effective services despite corruption and mismanagement in their systems. In Malawi, a nurse at Zomba Mental Hospital successfully advocated for increased funding, leading to improved patient care. Nigeria's FMC Ebute-Metta saw significant improvements under the leadership of Adedamola Dada. Ghana's State Transport Company became profitable and efficient under Nana Akomea. In Uganda, the Uganda Driver’s License Service maintained high-quality management processes by presidential order. Lastly, in Kenya, Governor Muthomi Njuki of Tharaka-Nithi county supported the establishment of a robust emergency service. The article highlights the lack of political will to replicate these successful practices and the challenges faced by public servants who strive for change. It raises the question of how to support those fighting corruption from within.

Zomba Mental Hospital: From Neglect to a Beacon of Hope

05 Apr 2023  |  africauncensored.online
The article by Josephine Chinele discusses the transformation of Zomba Mental Hospital (ZMH) in Malawi from a neglected facility with high mortality rates to a functional healthcare institution with significantly reduced deaths. Dr. Immaculate Chamangwana, a psychiatric nurse and nursing director, played a pivotal role in advocating for better funding and conditions at ZMH. Under her leadership, the hospital improved its infrastructure, introduced financial management systems, and resisted corruption. The article also highlights the challenges faced by the healthcare system in Malawi, including a lack of resources, trained staff, and widespread corruption. Despite these issues, ZMH stands out for its integrity and quality of care. The article is part of a transnational investigation into public service excellence in several African countries.

Community Drive Spurs Health Care Revolution for Lilongwe's Youngest

04 Apr 2023  |  gavi.org
In Lilongwe, Malawi, women in the Kawalika area have constructed an 'under-five shelter' to provide essential healthcare services for children under five years old. This initiative was driven by the community's frustration with irregular and poorly-organized outreach clinics, which led to preventable deaths among children due to missed immunizations. The World Health Organization highlights the seriousness of diseases like tetanus, which can be prevented by vaccines. The Malawi Health Equity Network, supported by Gavi, helped establish Mother Care Groups to expand immunization coverage. These groups are responsible for registering and tracking vaccinations for pregnant women and young children. The Ministry of Health supports these community-driven efforts, which align with Malawi's Sustainable Development Goals and the National Community Health Strategy. The shelters not only provide immunizations but also offer a range of health services, including family planning and treatment of minor illnesses.

Stuck in the mud: The struggle for healthcare access in rural Malawi

02 Apr 2023  |  gavi.org
The article discusses the challenges faced by the residents of Lundu village in southern Malawi, particularly women and children, due to the lack of a bridge over the Lindidzi river. The absence of a bridge made it difficult for women to access healthcare, especially for immunisation and childbirth. The Mpendekela Mother Care Group (MCG), a local volunteer association, was established to address low immunisation rates and advocate for the construction of a bridge. With the support of local leaders and funding from the Constituency Development Fund, a bridge was rebuilt, leading to an improvement in immunisation rates. The Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN), supported by Gavi, has been instrumental in establishing MCGs across Malawi to improve healthcare delivery. The article also mentions the destruction of an under-five shelter by Cyclone Freddy and the community's efforts to rebuild it.

Cyclone Freddy: Malawi counts the cost of a climate disaster

21 Mar 2023  |  mg.co.za
The article reports on the devastating impact of Cyclone Freddy in Malawi, which has resulted in at least 326 confirmed deaths, 796 injuries, and over 183,159 people displaced. The cyclone brought six months' worth of rain in six days, causing widespread destruction of infrastructure, homes, and farmland. The response from Malawi's government and military has been criticized as inadequate, with a lack of rescue helicopters to reach cut-off areas. President Lazarus Chakwera has declared national mourning and approved $1.5 million for recovery efforts, also seeking international aid. The cyclone, which originated off the coast of Australia, is noted for its unprecedented duration and intensity, attributed to climate change and the warming of the Indian Ocean. The article also highlights the role of fossil fuel companies in contributing to climate change and the resulting natural disasters.

Can Malawian president Chakwera’s career rise from the dead?

21 Feb 2023  |  mg.co.za
Lazarus Chakwera, leader of the Malawi Congress Party, initially lost the 2019 presidential election but won a rerun in 2020 after the original results were nullified due to fraud allegations. Despite his evangelical background and promises to fight corruption, Chakwera's presidency has been marred by nepotism and a failure to tackle corruption, leading to plummeting approval ratings. A major scandal involves British businessman Zuneth Sattar and alleged bribes to government officials. Anti-Corruption Bureau director Martha Chizuma faced intimidation and legal challenges, undermining anti-corruption efforts. Western donors, crucial to Malawi's economy, have expressed dissatisfaction with Chakwera's governance, threatening to withdraw investments. Despite these challenges, Chakwera has time before the next election to address issues like the cholera outbreak and agricultural concerns.

Can Lazarus Chakwera resurrect his political career?

11 Feb 2023  |  malawivoice.com
The article by Josephine Chinele discusses the political landscape in Malawi following Lazarus Chakwera's presidency. Initially losing the 2019 election, Chakwera won a rerun in 2020 after the Constitutional Court nullified the original results due to fraud allegations. Despite promising to tackle corruption, Chakwera's tenure has been marred by nepotism and a failure to address corruption effectively, as evidenced by his treatment of Anti-Corruption Bureau director Martha Chizuma. The economy has suffered due to the pandemic and external factors, impacting Chakwera's ability to fulfill campaign promises. The United States and other Western donors have expressed dissatisfaction with Chakwera's governance, threatening to withdraw financial support. The article also touches on the potential political repercussions for Chakwera, with polls suggesting a decline in public support.

How ‘the cartels’ protect their grip on power

21 Jun 2022  |  zammagazine.com
The article by Josephine Chinele investigates the pervasive corruption in Malawi's civil service, particularly within the healthcare system where essential medications are often unavailable despite substantial donor funding. The article highlights the challenges faced by honest civil servants, who are often victimized or sidelined ('sent to Guantanamo') for refusing to engage in corrupt practices. Transparency International notes that Malawi is regressing in its anti-corruption efforts. High-profile cases, such as the murder of ACB's Issa Njauju and the arrest of former President Mutharika's bodyguard Norman Chisale, underscore the dangers faced by those fighting corruption. The article also discusses the UK's National Crime Agency's investigation into inflated contracts involving Malawian officials and businessman Zuneth Sattar. ACB director Martha Chizuma's efforts to combat corruption are met with victimization and legal challenges, reflecting the systemic resistance to anti-corruption measures. The judiciary's slow processing of corruption cases and the lack of political will further hinder progress. The article concludes with President Chakwera's actions against officials implicated in corruption but also criticizes the ACB's report for selective justice.

Malawi Devalues Currency Amid Economic Challenges

06 Jun 2022  |  mg.co.za
Malawi has devalued its currency, the kwacha, by 25%, leading to cheaper exports but more expensive imports for citizens. This has caused market confusion and price adjustments by traders. Illovo Sugar Malawi, a major sugar producer, increased its prices by 25% due to higher production costs. The Reserve Bank of Malawi's governor, Wilson Banda, called the devaluation a 'necessary evil' for economic repair. The finance minister linked the strong kwacha to the country's forex shortage, which led to Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines suspending ticketing services in Malawi. The devaluation coincided with IMF discussions for a potential loan, raising speculation about its timing. The devaluation is the second in a decade, following a 33% devaluation in 2012.

Mobile Clinics Bring Hope to Cyclone Ana Survivors in Malawi

01 May 2022  |  gavi.org
The article discusses the aftermath of tropical cyclone Ana in Malawi, particularly focusing on the health challenges faced by the displaced population living in temporary camps. It highlights the efforts of the Chikwawa District Health Office and various partners, including Amref Health Africa, to provide healthcare services through mobile clinics. These clinics offer a range of services from vaccinations to antiretroviral therapy. The article also touches on the broader issues of climate change, infrastructure damage, and the sustainability of mobile clinics. It emphasizes the need for climate-change-resilience and infrastructure development to mitigate health risks associated with extreme weather events.

Malawi's Door-to-Door Polio Vaccination Campaign Targets 2.9 Million Children

25 Mar 2022  |  gavi.org
Since March 2022, Health Surveillance Assistants have been conducting a door-to-door emergency polio vaccination campaign in Malawi, targeting about 2.9 million children under five. This follows the first polio case in the country in 30 years. The campaign, supported by the Ministry of Health and Blantyre District Health Office, aims to administer four doses of the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) by June 2022. The campaign includes local and international monitoring teams and has set up temporary vaccination sites. Despite challenges such as unstable weather, the campaign has made significant progress, with 126,000 children vaccinated in a four-day period. The WHO has also been involved, with plans to administer over 80 million doses to children in five southern African countries. Public health specialist Elizabeth Mbamba praised the efforts and stressed the importance of vigilance and strengthening public health structures.

Bringing Hope to Women with Obstetric Fistula in Malawi and Nigeria

01 Feb 2022  |  allafrica.com
The article discusses the plight of women suffering from obstetric fistula in Malawi and Nigeria, highlighting personal stories and the efforts of various organizations to address the issue. Jackline Chiwinga, a young woman from Malawi, shares her experience of living with fistula and the life-changing surgery she received at Bwaila Fistula Care Centre. The article outlines the role of the Freedom from Fistula Foundation, UNFPA, and Amref Health Africa in providing support, equipment, and training to help women with fistula. It also touches on the importance of prevention, education, and community support to combat the condition. The article emphasizes the need for government leadership in prevention strategies and the collaboration between countries to improve the situation for women affected by fistula.

Opposition to abortion bill is foreign-backed

31 Mar 2021  |  mwnation.com
The article discusses the involvement of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) in lobbying against the Termination of Pregnancy Bill in Malawi, which would allow abortion in limited cases. The ECM received $30,000 from the US Catholic Bishops’ Conference to engage MPs and the laity in political leadership, which was used to oppose the proposed abortion law. The ECM has received multiple grants from the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa, some of which have been used for political purposes. The article also highlights the influence of international right-wing organizations such as the World Congress of Families, CitizenGo, and Human Life International in the abortion debate in Malawi. Despite the foreign influence, local opponents of the Bill claim they are underfunded and rely on the support of MPs who share their views. The article touches on the broader context of Malawi's restrictive abortion laws and the high maternal mortality rate due to unsafe abortions.

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