The Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) says it is facing a MK2.9 billion deficit in its coronavirus disease (Covid-19) level 3 response plan, which, among other things, seeks to assist the government to conduct a successful vaccination programme currently frustrated by myths and misconceptions.
MRCS Secretary General, McBain Kanongodza, disclosed this on Friday in Dowa during a one-day media orientation workshop on Covid-19 vaccination reporting, which MRCS organized in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Population.
The response plan, according to Kanongodza, includes mass awareness campaign aimed at disseminating the right messages to deal with myths and misconceptions surrounding the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination.
He said the entire budget for the plan is MK5.4 billion and that MRCS managed to raise MK2.5 billion only.
Kanongodza appealed to the donor community to bail them out with the MK2.9 billion deficit to enable MRCS successfully help with addressing the “devastating” third wave of Covid-19, saying the organization has “a good track record” in managing covid funds since its involvement in the fight against the pandemic.
“The myths and misconceptions, which are viral, are restraining a lot of people from doing the right things or behaviour in times like this. This impacts negatively on the good efforts that are being done in fighting the pandemic. It certainly results in wasting time and resources and scares away donors,” Kanongodza said.
According to Kanongodza, some of the myths and misconceptions that are misleading people not to get Covid-19 vaccines include, among others; that they will no longer bear children and will die in two years.
He said the media orientation workshop was aimed at equipping journalists with knowledge and best practice reporting in dealing with these myths and misconceptions surrounding the Covid-19 vaccination, which is underway in Malawi.
Kanongodza hailed the workshop, saying the media “is one of the best ways through which to correct the false rumour mongering about the vaccines and Covid-19 itself”.
Deputy Director of Preventive Health Services responsible for expanded programme on immunization in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Mike Chisema, concurred with Kanongodza, adding that Malawi requires concerted efforts of various stakeholders in order to achieve set targets of Covid-19 vaccination.
“Journalists are crucial in information sharing since it is their area of specialization. They need to deliver to people the right information so that they act responsibly against false myths and misconceptions circulating out there,” Chisema said.
Malawi, which, cumulatively, has recorded 57,620 cases including 1,941 deaths since the Covid-19 pandemic was declared, targets to vaccinate 10 million people.
However, a statement issued on Friday night by the Minister of Health, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, says only 705,815 vaccine doses have been administered in the country so far.
“Cumulatively 463,848 and 159,229 people have received the first dose and second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine, respectively. 83,098 people have received Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Over the past 24 hours, 23,078 people have received Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Cumulatively, 242,327 people are fully vaccinated,” the statement reads in part.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :