The Ministry of Health has called on community-based organisations (CBOs) to complement government efforts in containing the coronavirus pandemic.
The ministry’s deputy director for preventive health services responsible for community health Doreen Namagetsi said this in Blantyre yesterday at a meeting aimed at orienting the CBOs on Covid-19 preventive guidelines and the national vaccination programme.
She said the CBOs, alongside faith leaders and local politicians, are some of the most important al l ies in the success of government’s strategy to counter disinformation in the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
Said Namagetsi: “We need the CBOs to help us reach out to people in remote areas. Some CBOs, especially those funded by non-governmental organisations, have finances that can fund briefings and awareness campaigns. So, they are our biggest asset.”
On his part, Malawi’s community health ambassador Maziko Matemba said the training will help CBOs communicate the official government’s position in their local communities and provide information on Covid-19 vaccines.
He said the ministry has been tracking the disinformation campaign during the first vaccination programme and is fully aware of its origins and measures to counter it.
Said Matemba: “The problem with the first vaccination programme was that people did not know who to approach and consult when they had questions on the vaccines. As a result, their peers misinformed them in the communities.
“After this training, the delegates from the CBOs will act as a useful reference point where community members can get accurate and reliable information on Covid-19 vaccines.”
The Ministry of Health seeks to vaccinate at least 60 percent of the population to achieve herd immunity and prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The first vaccination programme was poorly received, and government destroyed over 19 000 doses of the vaccine after people shunned it amid concerns over its side effects.