NBS Bank has supported Malawi International CoVID-19 Response Group (MICRG) with MK9.6 million sponsorship towards its rural communities CoVID-19 vaccination uptake acceleration programme in partnership with the Society of Medical Doctors of Malawi.
MICRG is an initiative that was initiated by the Malawi Diaspora Network and taking cognizance that the vaccination uptake awareness was not reaching out to the rural communities, the group decided to join the campaign.
In a press statement issued on Friday, MICRG said the strategy to focus on the rural population was born out of the realisation that the proliferation of the CoVID-19 messaging in Malawi has largely been focused on modern media.
“This has resulted in an imbalance uptake of information between the urban vs the rural — creating a 2-tier society scenario,” said the statement signed by MICRG chairperson, Edith Chikago-Parker; Project Delivery, Management & Quality Assurance Lead, Chimwemwe Musicha and PR & Communications Lead, Tikhala Chimpango.
“Our message, as we reach out to the rural communities — as well to all our brothers and sisters in Malawi — is clear, please don’t hesitate! go and get vaccinated.
“The Malawi International CoVID-19 Response Group members are deeply honoured and very grateful to NBS Bank for their financial support taking cognizance that this initiative couldn’t be possible without their intervention.
“We deeply appreciate their willingness and determination to adhere to their strong Corporate Social Responsibilities.”
NBS Bank is a subsidiary of Malawi’s leading financial services provider, NICO Group — which has supported the fight against the pandemic since its onset in 2020.
The MICRG further says the Malawian diaspora community understands the importance of supporting their country “at this critical time and it is for this reason that we have worked hard to volunteer our time; resources; expertise, to partner with the Society of Medical Doctors of Malawi and NBS Bank to push for the safety of our families in the rural communities”.
“We thank the government of Malawi for granting us an opportunity to support Malawi’s CoVID-19 Vaccination deployment strategies — especially to the rural communities for them to understand and appreciate the importance of being vaccinated.”
The diaspora community comprises some of the country’s untapped resource with plans to deploy their expertise and skills towards advisory, monitoring and resource mobilisation in order to protect Malawian communities.
The statement quotes chairperson of Society of Doctors in Malawi, Dr. Victor Mithi as saying the project of providing CoVID-19 vaccine access to the rural communities “is very critical for Malawi because of the low vaccine uptake in the rural areas yet the cases are increasing daily currently at 3% compared to 89% in the western world”.
“The only way of preventing the disease from spreading among the rural masses is to motivate them by using peer motivators,” Dr. Mithi is quoted as saying.
“Through this programme, we intend to create a demand of CoVID-19 vaccine thereby increase the vaccine uptake and reduce the spread of the disease in rural communities.”
Dr. Mithi added that previously, much emphasis has been on cities and towns, and which has ended up compromising the uptake in the rural areas.
“We are very happy that the Malawi International Covid-19 Response Group has been able to stand with us as they have demonstrated their passion for their families in Malawi.
“We believe that their effort shall also motivate Malawians to work together to solve their own problems. Our sponsors NBS Bank has demonstrated true ethics of the community bank for the people of Malawi which we would like other corporates to emulate in order to protect the lives of their customers.”
At the presentation of the cheque in Blantyre, Tamanda Longwe — NBS Bank’s Head of Marketing & Customer Experience — said they decided to support the initiative upon being impressed with the innovative and unique delivery model backing the Rural Communities CoVID-19 Vaccination Acceleration Programme.
“As a community bank of the people, we were compelled to join hands and support the initiative, since this is not about buying medical equipment for people already attacked by the disease but pro-actively reaching out to rural communities with a life saving vaccine.
“It is very impressive that even though they are very far away from home, they are still passionate about their families and friends back in Malawi,” she said.
The MICRG partnership with the Society of Medical Doctors on the rural public awareness campaign launched on October 1, 2021 while the rural civic awareness was successfully tried and tested in a pilot project carried out in Mchinji by SMD.
The project will see SMD deploying its doctors nationwide to sensitise the rural districts to increase vaccination uptake, currently at 3% compared to 89% in the Western world.
MICRG was launched in January 2020 to support Malawi Government in implementing sustainable CoVID-19 management strategies.
“Our aim is to coordinate the diaspora resources including knowledge, skills and abilities in supporting sustainable CoVID-19 Management strategies,” says the statement.
“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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :