Dowa main market committee, vendors and the surrounding communities, have protested heavily over the decision by the District Health Office (DHO) to turn Dowa Lodge into a quarantine/isolation centre for Health care workers treating Covid -19 cases in the district.
The rehabilitated Dowa Lodge from a rest house has taken years without being opened to the public to bring in the much needed revenues to the council besides millions of Kwachas spent over it. University graduate interns working in some sectors of the council have been renting its rooms.
In 2016, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) of the Archdiocese of Lilongwe released a Public Expenditure Tracking (PET) Report which faulted the council of rehabilitating the lodge without consulting the communities and there was no project committee to oversee the implementation of the project in the district.
Dowa district main market committee chairperson, Isaac Tembo, has argued that there are other places citing Robert Blake secondary school, Nanthomba CDSS and offices for China Civil contractors which can be turned into quarantine centers and not the Boma Lodge which is at the hub of the market.
Jere said before establishing a quarantine center, there was a need for the health officials to assure them of soap used for hand washing by market users saying currently the committee is using own money to purchase the soap; and bringing the quarantine center at the site will be too risky to many lives.
He accused Members of Parliament and councilors of the district of turning against them by accepting the quarantine center to be at the market saying no one can last 14 days staying inside the lodge without interacting with other people outside it and the market itself, thereby continued further spread of the virus in the district.
“Covid -19 is a killer disease. They are bringing in the quarantine center between the nose and mouth for all market users to be infected with the virus so that many be declared positive. We will not allow this to happen and we have totally rejected this quarantine centre,” He said
Tembo is alleging that the health officials are running away from being probed of Covid -19 funds hence the decision to turn the Dowa lodge into a quarantine center after UNHCR has chased them for the same at Dzaleka Refugees camp where there is a big quarantine center which can accommodate many cases in the district. Dowa District Health Office Spokesperson, Davie Nuka has dismissed the fears as expressed by some members of the communities saying they need not to worry as all Covid -19 preventive measures will be followed.