Malawians condemn Chilima’s $312,000 medical bill – Malawi 24

Malawians have condemned the US$312,000 bill for Malawi’s second lady Mary Chilima’s medical trip to South Africa, with many describing the amount as excessive.

Mary Chilima, wife of Vice President Saulos Chilima, is expected to travel to South Africa for a medical procedure and the Vice President’s office has proposed a budget of K311.98 million (about US$312,000) for the trip.

According to a leaked memo from the Office of the President and Cabinet, President Lazarus Chakwera approved the funding on September 19, 2022.

The amount proposed for the trip shocked Malawians and many pointed out that if the government invested similar amounts in hospitals and health centers across the country, many Malawians would have access to quality health care.

Social media influencer Pemphero Mphande, who has previously used his influence to raise funds for Malawians to get medical care outside the country, said in a Facebook post that Malawians he helped to fundraising did not need such excessive amounts, but the money they needed was a lot for them and some of them are still struggling to settle their debts after their trip.

“If we invest all the money that VIPs spend outside of Malawi, we can have hospitals that can provide specialist treatment such as open heart surgery for Rebecca or for the cancer Chikondi contracted in India.

“We would no longer have to waste millions of dollars each year paying for treatments abroad. Even Mary Chilima would have been treated in Malawi. I am aware that hundreds if not dozens of Malawians are currently in India for medical help.

“I implore the government to think long and hard about this. This money spent in South Africa can make a big difference if it is invested in our health sector. We must feel pain every time we lose money that could have been saved. We need to invoke a spirit of patriotism and think ahead,” Mphande said in his Facebook post.

Also writing on Facebook, another Malawian argued that the system in Malawi favors the wealthy who are funded by taxpayers to get medical aid while poor Malawians are forced to use their savings for the same.

“Now look at our healthcare system. Pathetic. People who weren’t supposed to die are dying because of the poor delivery of health services. Today, these top officials, the president and vice president, and their families are flying out of the country to get better treatment. They use taxpayers’ money. It must end.

In a Facebook post on the matter, social commentator Onjezani Kenani noted that the South African government provides security for all VVIPs when visiting Rainbow Nation, but the leaked memo states that part of the money will cover “local security costs”.

“Let’s hope that number is not inflated. K311 million is a lot of money,” he said.

In another post, Kenani said, “The K311 million does not include medical bills, friends. It’s just pocket money. »

On his part, musician Kalawe wondered why there was an allowance for travel allowances in the bill as Chilima was traveling to South Africa for medical help.

According to the leaked note, the money requested by Chilima covers accommodation, airfare, external travel allowances, vehicle rental costs, local security costs and food rations for Mary Chilima and four members. support staff.

Pilirani Phiri, director of communications in the vice president’s office, confirmed yesterday that Ms Chilima is expected to undertake the medical trip.

“I can confirm that Mrs. Mary Chilima requires medical attention in South Africa. But we will not get sucked into explaining the details of his illness and related costs,” Phiri said.

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