World Vision Malawi has urged the government and other stakeholders to engage faith leaders in disseminating information about Covid-19 vaccine if the initiative is to become a success.
In a statement signed by the organisation’s Officer-In-Charge, Catherine Omenda, said this has been proven by research the organization has carried out in six countries across six regions of the World.
The statement comes at a time when Malawi government has procured its first consignment of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine that will be rolled out first to frontline health workers and senior citizens across the country early March this year.
With ongoing debate on access, there are further misconceptions among some quarters of the public who say they are not ready to receive the dose.
“Faith leaders have social capital and understand underlying norms and behaviors”, starts part of the statement. “They are generally well-connected within their communities. They have the opportunity to address and engage with contextual barriers, promote sharing of accurate information and ensure individuals and families have the information they need to make decisions about the vaccine,” continues the statement.
While the Malawi government outlines that its procured consignment of the vaccine will carter for 20 percent of the country’s population, prioritizing health workers, the elderly and those with underlying conditions, World Vision has appealed for special consideration of other vulnerable groups, especially refugees.
“While we acknowledge government’s roll out plan, it is important to pay attention to equitable distribution of the vaccine at the national level so that everyone regardless of their economic status, ethnicity, level of education, gender, religion, etc, are able to access it”, reads part of the statement.
Globally, World Vision has sadly noted the exclusion of refugees in most government vaccination plans.
“The mismatch between vaccine supply and demand is just one of the issues arising from the vaccination campaign. In this regard, as Malawi Government determines who needs to be vaccinated first, they should think about those who usually get them last: refugees and populations in urban hotspots,” reads part of the statement.
Malawi has 48, 547 refugees and asylum seekers who reside at Dzaleka Refugee Camp.
Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :