Ministry of Health engages faith leaders on Covid-19 vaccine

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The Ministry of Health has called on faith leaders to encourage people to access Covid-19 vaccine as Malawi seek to increase vaccine uptake.

Speaking after the meeting, Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said they thought it is wise to meet the faith leaders because they are part of the society and as a Ministry they work hand in hand with them in the fight against Covid-19.

She added that  the objective of the meeting  was just to encourage them to assist the Ministry with the message of Covid-19 vaccination.

“We wanted by this time around we should have maybe 50 or 60 percent of the eligible population having received the Covid-19 vaccine. So that is why we thought if we engage our faith leaders, they are respected in our societies and when they talk people listen.

“We still have Covid amidst us  and we still have cases so it means the risk is still there and also we are approaching the festive season. From the history of Covid in Malawi, things always get tricky after Christmas especially in January. So, we want to take advantage of the situation to make sure that we get many Malawians vaccinated as soon as possible.

“We still have the vaccine in the country and anyone aged 12 years above they can get the vaccine so basically that was the engagement,” said Chiponda.

During the meeting the Ministry also discussed with the faith leaders on the issue of Cholera outbreak, on how the faith leaders can encourage their people in their community to make sure they prevent Cholera.

In his remarks, USA Ambassador to Malawi David Young said one resource that is available now to help in the fight against Covid-19 is vaccine and there is need for more people to get vaccinated.

He added that the faith leaders need to play a big part in this by encouraging their people in their communities to take the Covid-19 vaccine and providing Malawians with accurate and reliable information about Covid-19.

Young also noted that the United States has contributed more than 37 million USD dollars to fight Covid-19 in Malawi and on top of that the US has directly contributed almost 2.4 million COVID-19 vaccines.

“Encouraging our brothers and sisters to become vaccinated is an act of both faith and love. People who are vaccinated are less likely to contract COVID-19, and when they do, they are much better protected from severe illness and death. The more vulnerable among us, including the elderly and people with other health conditions, are especially encouraged to get vaccine boosters to increase their protection. These vaccines are safe, effective, and help to save lives,” said Young.

He then commended the Ministry of Health for the incredible commitment shown to save live of Malawians.

On his part, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees- Public Affairs Committee Bishop Fanuel Magangani, said the meeting was very important to them as faith leaders to come together and listen to what others can share so that they can continue to mitigate the impact of Coronavirus.

“We can unite to fight and help our people have the true information against the misinformation,” explained Magangani.

Since March of 2021, the Ministry of Health has vaccinated more than 2.5 million Malawians.

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