Joyce Banda leaves for Equatorial Guinea as country's civil service is in complete shutdown

President Joyce Banda is this morning expected to depart for Equatorial Guinea where she is expected to attend Africa- South America (Ascof) Summit.

A statement released by the State House on Wednesday indicated that the trip has been funded by the host.

"This is an important cooperation because most countries in South America face similar challenges as Malawi and other African countries. But South America has overcome these challenges and so Africa can learn from South American countries' experience," the statement, signed by Presidential Press Secretary Steve Nhlane, stated.

The statement says the summit will discuss cooperation between African and South American countries in the fields of infrastructure, energy, agriculture and sustainable development.

But the Malawi president leaves her in complete civil service shutdown. On Wednesday all the airports were closed and many more civil service union joined the strike.

Medical doctors in Malawi will from Thursday join the on-going public sector strike because they face similar challenges as all civil servants, the doctors’ union president Dr Jerome Nkambule has said.

“We the medical doctors in government fully support the action that our fellow civil servants have taken...hence our decision to participate fully in the action,” said Dr Nkambule said in a statement.

But he was quick to say they will maintain skeleton staff to deal with emergency cases in different public hospital across the country.

He said their members will resume their normal duties once the demands by the Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU) have been fully met.

The strike by doctors will further worsen the already overstretched health sector, hit by shortages of pharmaceuticals and staff.

It will also pile more pressure on President Joyce Banda’s administration which is overwhelmed with other social and political pressures.

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