Some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have expressed concern over low uptake of Covid vaccine in Malawi, saying the country is among the least vaccinated countries in the world.
Council for Non- Governmental Organisations (CONGOMA) and Malawi Health Equity Network (MEHN) disclosed this to the press in Lilongwe.
Speaking to the press, CONGOMA Communications Officer Mphatso Jezman said Malawi is among the least vaccinated countries with 36% of targeted population vaccinated against Africa’s 29% and the global rate of 65%.
According to Jezman, Malawi was supposed to vaccinate at least 70% of its people by 2022, but the target has not been reached due to resistance and misinformation. This means more people might continue being infected.
“The uptake of the vaccines has not been encouraging as the targets have not been met. This has been triggered by reduced numbers of people being recorded on daily basis. However, the fact that cases are being recorded on routine basis is a clear indication that Covid still exists and there is need to take precautionary measures,” said Jezman.
Jezman also noted that CONGOMA in partnership with Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), People’s Vaccine and MEHN are conducting a campaign to assist in raising awareness and provide an opportunity for advancing relevant policy demands to authorities at national and global levels.
According to Jezman, right now there is limited collaboration between Government and the Civil Society in the fight against the pandemic as the focus on Covid-19 has now been shifted to other equally threatening issues.
“Covid-19 is not receiving as much serious attention as it should be. People are not getting vaccinated as much as they should. There is poor management of data on Covid-19 from primary health facilities. The political interference at the beginning of the pandemic has negatively impacted the uptake of correct information by the people. Development partners continue to channel their funds where they have interest and not where there is need, despite the availability of vaccines there is limited demand among the people,” explained Jezman.
On his part, Devis Mwachumu who is Program Manager at MEHN called on Government to include representatives in the Presidential Task force on covid-19 and also strengthen the African Centre for Disease Control- CDC, especially on getting vaccine patents or developing vaccines.
He added that there is need to lobby for patents from within and outside Africa, develop tailor-made messages for different groups of people as one size fits all messages are not working and to embrace Universal Health Coverage to enhance preparation of future pandemics. Establish Emergency Health Fund.
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