Lilongwe (Agenzia Fides) - "As your Pastors, we cannot sit back and watch in the face of shrinking standards or lack of public service delivery, increasing gap between the rich and the poor, lack of fiscal discipline and misplaced priorities in the prevailing tough times which call for tough measures", say the Bishops of Malawi in their Pastoral Statement entitled" Mercy of God as Path of Hope".
The document, sent to Agenzia Fides, acknowledges some positive developments in the social life of the Country (good participation in the 2014 elections; ready response to the emergency caused by flooding; political reforms, etc ...) but stresses that still much remains to be done in the economic and social field.
Particular concern, according to the Bishops, is the reduction of health services: "The sad and dehumanizing conditions of public hospitals are unacceptable". Among other things the Bishops denounce the lack, throughout Malawi, of a well-equipped public hospital for mammography, forcing women to go to expensive private facilities to carry out mammary diagnosis.
Despite the prompt response to the floods, 2.8 million Malawians suffer from severe food shortages and are at risk of starvation".
People are spending more time waiting on ques to buy maize at ADMARC markets, a fact which makes them less productive in their fields or work places. This might be a recipe for another food shortage in the coming months. We are also worried by the reports of women with children sleeping at ADMARC markets with the hope of buying maize the following day. We find this very dehumanizing and unacceptable", the Bishops write.
Poverty also contributes to increase the rate of crime and insecurity in which people live, while "elements of regionalism and tribalism are slowly taking root in our society today". The Bishops launch an appeal to the unity of the Country and remember that these trends can be addressed with "policies and programmes that ensure that all sections of the society are included". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 15/03/2016)