The National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust has joined forces with minibus touts, conductors and drivers in the fight against and preventing further spread of the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic in the country.
NICE executive director Ollen Mwalubunju said in an interview with Nyasa Times that his organization had noted that minibus touts and operators are at higher risk of contracting and/or spreading the disease because they are mostly working without personal protective equipment (PPEs).
Mwalubunju said while many companies and organizations are now providing PPEs to their members of staff, minibus touts and drivers are operating without masks and hand sanitizers to prevent or protect themselves and passengers from the disease.
“What we have seen is that minibus touts, conductors and drivers have to pay for their own protection at a time when they are struggling financially. This has left most of them without adequate protection and guidance despite many working in an environment that is prone to Covid-19 attack,” he said.
On Thursday, NICE and Thyolo District Health Office conducted a joint Covid-19 sensitization meeting targeting and Thyolo Minibus Call-Boys Committee.
The meeting took place at the bus stage because the call-boys refused to leave their duty post for fear of losing business.
Thyolo District Civic Education Officer (DCEO), Moses Kaunda, assured the call-boys of his organization’s commitment to working with them in combating the disease.
In his remarks, Thyolo Minibus Call-Boys Committee chairperson, Francis Namanya, asked government and NICE to consider installing hand-washing facilities in bus stops, stressing that this is critical in ensuring that touts, conductors and drivers are adhering to preventive measures.
“These hand-washing facilities will not only serve us, but also the passengers as they will be able to wash their hands before boarding buses to their various destinations,” said Namanya.