Chiefs, political leaders embrace Malawi International CoVID-19 Response Group programme

Traditional leaders, politicians and other people of high standing are acting as community influencers in positive support of the rural community CoVID-19 vaccination acceleration programme which Malawi International CoVID-19 Response Group (MICRG) rolled out in October — in partnership with the Society of Medical Doctors of Malawi (SMD) and NBS Bank

The districts so far reached include Neno, Nkhotakota and Mzimba where over 200 leaders were reached out and given the platform on community radio stations to communicate and influence rural communities in order to accelerate uptake of rural communities CoVID-19 vaccination.

Society of Medical Doctors in Malawi, Dr. Mithi.

We are pleased with the progress and we would like to appeal to all Malawi to continue getting vaccinated, reported Tikhala Chimpango, PR & Comms Lead.

MICRG is an initiative that was initiated by the Malawi Diaspora Network (MDN) and taking cognizance that the vaccination uptake awareness was not reaching out to the rural communities, the group decided to join the campaign.

“We are working tirelessly to save the lives in Malawi and we are urging every Malawian to play their role in the battle against this pandemic” explained Edith Chikago-Parker, Chairperson MICRG.

She also emphasized the importance of adopting a multi-stakeholder partnership and collaboration approach which has been vital for the success of the Rural Communities Covid-19 Vaccine Acceleration Programme.

The initiative has been endorsed by the Malawi Government, during its meeting with Dr. Nkhoma (Co-chairperson, Malawi Presidential TaskForce on Coronavirus), who commended the group on its strategic approach and informed the members that the Ministry of Health has asked all the districts DHSSs in Malawi to submit their plans and budget on Covid with an intention of increasing vaccination rates in the districts.

Therefore Dr. Nkhoma urged the members, to relay this message to key district representatives requesting them to incorporate the initiative in their plans.

The initiative got support of NBS Bank, which sponsored MICRG with MK9.6 million — gesture that showed the Bank’s willingness and determination to adhere to their strong Corporate Social Responsibility.

SMD President Dr. Victor Mithi, who is the leading the delivery team on the ground, reports that they have been working in close partnership with the Presidential Taskforce on CoVID-19, he explained that through the Presidential Taskforce, they have also managed to link the programme to the government mobile vaccination clinics.

He explained that the response has been encouraging, we have discovered that through the community influencers many people are positively coming out for their jabs — which is a plus in balancing up the uptake of information between the urban vs the rural.

Dr. Mithi also took cognizance that community radios play a huge part in influencing people in matters of national importance — thus MICRG applauds all who accepted to be community influencers in this initiative.

Staff Sargeant Chim Musicha, Programme Delivery and Quality Assurance Lead, MICRG explained that the group has limited funding covering 6 districts currently, so far we have reached circa 200+ community leaders in Neno, Nkhota-kota and Mzimba.

“We have also recently joined forces with our colleagues from Malawians Health Initiative (USA) and have agreed phase 2 of our strategy which will focus on intensifying fundraising activities in order to raise MK40,000,000 required to deliver the programme in the remaining 21 districts in the Malawi,” Musicha narrated.

In order to support the Malawi Government in intensifying its response to the 4th wave, the group is organising a Virtual panel discussion which will be held via Zoom on Sunday, 19th December 2021 at 3.00pm Malawi Time and 1.00pm UK Time.
Meeting ID: 838 7083 6801- Passcode: 661713

The Rural District Programme sees SMD deploying its doctors nationwide to sensitise the rural districts to increase vaccination uptake. MICRG was launched in January 2020 to support Malawi Government in implementing sustainable CoVID-19 management strategies.

Its aim is to coordinate the diaspora resources including knowledge, skills and abilities in supporting sustainable CoVID-19 Management strategies and to date, MICRG has contribute towards Malawi’s Covid-19 management strategies through presentations during high-level national vaccination roll-out and planning meetings, delivering virtual panel discussions, publications, disseminating information and advising on Malawi’s corporates social responsibility strategies.

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