National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) in Thyolo district has embarked on 14-day massive sensitization campaign in order to encourage people to get vaccinated and continue adhering to preventive measures.
In an interview, District Civic Education Officer for NICE Moses Kaunda said the activity is being run in conjunction with health department and information department in the district and hopes will help washing away rumors and beliefs towards covid-19 and vaccine as well, and said no one will be left behind as people now are showing high demand to receive the vaccine than at first.
“It is true that we have embarked on massive covid-19 awareness campaign which will run for 14 days as a first phase and after that will have other 14 days to run similar activity, thanks to government support.
“Sensitizations are important for we have seen now people queuing and scrambling to get their jab than in the first roll-out. Therefore, we attribute these high responses to various sensitizations in government and other stakeholders had been carrying out in the community.
“There is a need to join hands with all stakeholders; we do not need to ease sensitizations because some rumors and beliefs are still hovering in people’s minds. So, it is my plea to community donors to fund various organizations so as to carry out awareness campaigns all over,” said Kaunda.
Kaunda then called for people to go to their nearest health facility to get the jab and continue following covid-19 measures.
Health Promotion Officer for Thyolo District Hospital Fanuel Makina said the awareness campaign is of much significant in as far as rumors, beliefs and misconceptions associated with the pandemic as well as vaccine are concerned.
“Much as we have started late with the awareness, I would say it is timely since we are still getting the vaccines.
“And 14 days it is okay, we will reach a good coverage of the district. There are a lot of issues in the community regarding the vaccines which need to be discussed with the general public in the district if we are to vaccinate more people. Imagine during the first roll-out, we planned to vaccinate 12,000 people in the district but we ended up vaccinating less than 5,000 people due to a lot of rumors, misinformation, religious beliefs that are in people’s minds due to social media and some other mis-informants,” said Makina.
Makina added that covid-19 pandemic needs continued sensitizations if the country is to win the battle and said uniting in the fight is also required as government on its own cannot manage.
“It is high time we fight the covid-19 pandemic together. Government is trying its part such as bringing the vaccines, vaccinating the community and awareness. So, partners in the district should come forward and assist in sensitizations.
“We struggle convincing people about issues to do with AstraZeneca due to lack of coordinated effort amongst stakeholders in conducting sensitizations about covid-19 vaccine, now we have Johnson &Johnson vaccine and it is only NICE which is on the ground out of many NGOs and NSAs among others in the district. This makes us fail proper penetration into the community since we have to rationalize the effort by NICE which is not enough. Poor penetration with messages and interactions with the community equals poor acceptance of the service by the general public. However, thanks to NICE and I should also say thanks to Centre for Development Communication (CDC) for taking part in the course. But we have to go deeper into the community hence need for more partners to join us,” said Makina.
Makina further urged the general public to mistrust the rumors, religious beliefs and misinformation and get vaccinated, observe Covid-19 preventive measures and stay safe saying that covid-19 is real and is killing.
As of 25 August, Thyolo district had recorded 110 active Covid-19 cases and 40 deaths.