In an effort to dispel fake news and dis-information about the deadly coronavirus disease (Covid-19), the Ministry of Civic Education and National Unity on Monday launched a nationwide Covid-19 Loud Hailing Campaign to boost the existing information dissemination and awareness raising initiatives on the pandemic.
The Minister of Civic Education and National Unity, Timothy Pagonachi Mtambo, confirmed the development in an interview with Nyasa Times on Tuesday, saying the ministry has already deployed 34 vehicles in all the districts.
He emphasized that the campaign will cover all corners of the country, including the hardest-to-reach areas, and it aims at encouraging community members to adhere to Covid-19 preventive measures, encouraging early health seeking behavior, promotion of home management of mild and asymptomatic Covid-19 cases dispelling fake news.
“This campaign will run for 21 days from 5th February, 2021. Hard to reach areas will be covered at all cost. Yesterday, for example, the loud hailing team in Mchinji was at Mzenga, a village on the Malawi / Zambia border where there is no mobile phone network let alone any radio reception from Malawian radio stations,” he said.
The loud hailing campaign is part of government interventions in the fight against the pandemic, and it is using financial resources, which the government provided through the Public Communication Cluster of the National COVID-19 Response Plan.
The Ministry of Civic Education and National Unity is a member of the communication which is co-chaired by the Ministry of Information and Ministry of Health.
According to Mtambo, loud hailing teams will go to every constituency, ward and Traditional authority in every district. Messages will be relayed to the public through public address system, which have been fitted on motor vehicles.
“Loud hailers will give out the preventive measures, urging the public to adhere to the measures for this is the sure way of preventing and defeating the pandemic. Yelling of messages will be complemented by various jingles carrying different messages on the pandemic. The jingles will be played through public address system at trading centres, market places and along the roads. Loud hailing teams have been instructed to move slowly as they go around places in order to relay complete messages to the people,” said the minister.
Mtambo said the ministry has partnered with various stakeholders such as the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE), which has vast expertise in conducting loud hailing campaign.
However, the minister expressed concern over people’s utter disregard to adhere to preventive measures, saying this is suffocating the fight against the virus.
He urged people to strictly adhere and follow the measures so that the country can win the battle against the disease.
Meanwhile, Mtambo has appealed to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and churches to engage extra gear in raising awareness on the pandemic to their respective constituencies.
He said it is only through collaborative efforts that Malawi can win the battle against the disease.
Before the roll out of the campaign, officials from the ministries of Civic Education and Unity; Information; and Health went to all districts to brief loud hailing teams on the campaign, and how to relay messages on the pandemic.
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