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Friday, 01 March 2019 06:21

T’LIPO Laments MANEB’s Decision over Proposed Medical Test Policy

Written by  Esnath Kalawe and Joseph Chikalipo

Lilongwe, March 1, 2019: Teachers Living Positive (T’LIPO) has expressed concern over Malawi Examinations Board’s (MANEB) decision to introduce a policy on fitness of markers saying it will have a negative impact on people that are HIV positive.

T’LIPO is a group of teachers that have come out in the open by disclosing their status that they are HIV positive.

According to a circular released on February 12, 2019, the policy which is set to commence from the 2019 marking calendar, will require teachers interested in marking MANEB examinations to go for medical tests as one of its many criteria to engage them.

Speaking in an interview, T’LIPO/SHN coordinator for Lilongwe District Education Managers office (Rural West), Veronica Baduya said the initiative will bring undesirable consequences on HIV positive people.

“We understand the medical tests will give a chance to people with conditions such as diabetes if they are declared fit. However, it’s different with HIV positive people because the chances of falling sick are high,” said Baduya.

Baduya added that not only will the policy hinder teachers from marking, but it will also demotivate HIV positive teachers to disclose their status.

“Most teachers are willing to declare their status and perhaps join T’LIPO but with the forthcoming initiative, they will be discouraged thinking once they are in the open, MANEB will side-line them,” said Baduya.

According to the circular, over the past years MANEB has experienced increasing cases of markers’ sicknesses as well as deaths of some of them, and with due consideration of the markers welfare , the policy will guide on medical certification of teachers’ fitness.

MANEB’s spokesperson, Mayamiko Chiwaya, in an interview disclosed some statistics regarding sicknesses of markers.

“At times we would have as many as 16 markers on the first day of marking taken to the public health facilities,” said Chiwaya.

Chiwaya assured the general public that the information of medical tests will be treated with utmost confidentiality and that the policy is not aimed at discriminating or barring anyone from marking examinations.

However, the circular explicitly states that submission of fake medical reports will trigger immediate withdrawal from the marking exercise and that MANEB will not shoulder any costs or take any responsibility in case a health problem arises.

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