By Yankho Phiri, MANA
The Department of National Parks and Wildlife with assistance from International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has responded to threats of Coronavirus by donating preventative kits to workers, chiefs and other people residing around Kasungu National Park.
The donated items worth K5 million include furniture to Lifupa Health Centre, 15 bicycles for game rangers, plastic buckets, mattresses, soap and hand sanitisers.
IFAW Director of Law Enforcement in Southern Africa, Mike Labuschagne said his organisation realised the threat that coronavirus poses to lives hence the donation.
He said as partners they thought it wise to give such support to the national park workers whom he said are also in danger because of the district’s proximity to Zambia.
“We saw it wise to equip the clinic and workers in the park in preparing for the prevention of the disease because there is always human resource when taking care of wildlife. Our lives matters most and if we save ourselves, we will save the animals,” he said.
Kasungu District Hospital Assistant Environmental Officer, Joseph Chitsime commended IFAW for the donation made to the Clinic.
“We are very much thankful for the help made because we were failing to equip the clinic alone.
We could have not managed to give hand sanitizers and other preventive materials to our health workers. As such the donation has made our clinic conducive,” he said.
While observing that the national park is visited by several tourists from in and outside the country, Chitsime urged people living around the national park to quickly report any person with feverish symptoms to the authorities.
Director for Parks and Wildlife Brighton Kumchedwa expressed gratitude to IFAW for being the first partner to come forward and help with tools for use in preventing Covid-19.
“Amongst all our partners, IFAW has been an outstanding partner in helping us a lot, therefore we are very much appreciative and we hope that our partnership will be maintained,” said Kumchedwa.
He added that the Covid preventive kits and bicycles will keep all the officers to continue working without fear and keep off poachers, who would take advantage of times such as the Covid disaster.