Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lest we forget: Malawi: Fired cabinet minister dies

Malawi's Professor Moses Chirambo, fired from cabinet last week, died at a South African clinic, about four days after President Bingu wa Mutharika relieved him from heading the Ministry of Health.
Death of Malawi's first ophthalmologist hit Malawians as they were trying to embrace new ministers sworn in on Wednesday. Mutharika himself said, at Sanjika Palace, no one was a 'life minister'.

"We are just waiting for the funeral programme. First there must be a post mortem to determine what he died of," his son, Masuzgo, told Africanews Sunday from the family home in Area 10.

Unconfirmed reports indicate he died from an anaesthetist related cardiac complication while undergoing Prostate removal surgery.

He comes from the Northern Region of Malawi in Rumphi District.

Government announced Mutharika had sent his heartfelt condolences to the family through the public Malawi Broadcasting Corporation.

Prof. Chirambo retired from active Ophthalmology in 2008 when he was appointed Minister of Health after joining politics to win as a Member of Parliament in his home area.

"In 1983 , he established the Southern Africa Development corporation (SADC) school of Ophthalmology in Lilongwe, Malawi supported by Sight Savers International; this school has trained over 500 clinical officers and cataract surgeons (midlevel eye personnel) from all over SADC countries and beyond ; and now several countries including Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia have started their own training programmes," writes Dr. Khumbo Kalua, a medical practitioner, in his blog.

In 1995, Chirambo got an International ward from the American Academy and IAPB for his fight in blindness; and continued to get several awards.

Kalua adds that Chirambo was Regional Advisor for Sight Savers International for a long time. Between 1983 and 1987, Dr Chirambo, Professor Johnson Gordon and many other colleagues conducted the first population based childhood blindness survey on vitamin A & Xerophthalmia studies in Africa.
For those who knew Chirambo, he will be missed by many.

"Professor Chirambo was a great achiever in Public Health Ophthalmology & Epidemiology," add Kalua.

The late Prof. Chirambo was fired alongside Ministers of Local Government and Rural Development Goodall Gondwe, Women Child and Community Development Patricia Kaliati, and Development and Infastructure Khumbo Kachali.

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