New COVID-19 Vaccination Drive Targets Rural People
The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) is implementing an Africa CDC Saving Lives and Livelihoods project whose main thrust is social mobilisation for COVID-19 vaccine demand and uptake.
The project, which is being implemented in Mashonaland West and Midlands provinces, is facilitated by the Health and Child Care Ministry.
The project is being supported by the Africa CDC Saving Lives and Livelihoods in partnership with MasterCard Foundation.
Esther Chitaya of Denhere village (Ward 4) in Zvimba district told The Standard that people in her community, who have received the first dose, had been hesitant to get the second dose due to misconceptions and myths about the origins of COVID-19. She said:
I got my first dose at Matanhire shopping centre during a mobile vaccination programme and I never turned up for the second dose.
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Just recently, we had people from the Red Cross and Health Ministry moving around our village telling us about the importance of vaccination and warning us that COVID-19 was not over.
It was after this awareness drive that you find me and my colleagues here at the clinic to get the vaccination.
I have realised the importance of being vaccinated and I want to urge others to do so.
I think what the government is doing is essential because they are protecting us from future disasters.
We saw people dying of COVID-19 and we can’t afford to lose more just because they are not vaccinated.
Tivaudze Mushangwe (19), who was getting his first COVID-19 jab at Nyabira clinic in Zvimba District, urged the Government to incorporate COVID-19 services into other health services programmes.
Zimbabwe Red Cross Society secretary-general Elias Hwenga said:
You would realise that the main thrust of this project is social mobilisation for COVID-19 vaccine demand and uptake.
I am happy that our teams and village health workers have got the training and are getting into the communities.
Africa CDC Saving Lives and Livelihood Programme national coordinator Charles Ibeneme said:
The Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative is a partnership between the MasterCard Foundation and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) designed to save the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in Africa and hasten the economic recovery of the continent in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The initiative is acquiring vaccines for more than 65 million people, supporting the delivery of vaccinations to millions more across the continent, including Zimbabwe, laying the groundwork for vaccine manufacturing in Africa through a focus on human capital development and strengthening the Africa CDC.
He said during the 10-month implementation of the project they would train village health workers, ZRCS volunteers and influential people in communities with the aim of mobilising people to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Said Ibemene:
By being closer to the people we would lessen the burden on villagers.
We want the COVID-19 service to get to the last mile, we want villagers to access the service.
On 05 May 2023, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared an end to COVID-19 as a public health emergency more than three years after its original declaration.
WHO, however, stressed that it does not mean the disease is no longer a global threat.
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