HEALTH experts say the country is not out of the woods yet with regards to Covid-19 and other respiratory virus infections.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that Covid-19 does no longer constitute a global public health emergency, but local experts have warned the public not to let their guard down.
According to WHO, as of last month, more than 6,86 million people had died after contracting the respiratory virus since its outbreak three years ago.
It is against this background that the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Child Care with support from Africa CDC Saving Lives and Livelihoods in partnership with MasterCard Foundation are mobilising communities in Mashonaland West and Midlands provinces for Covid-19 vaccine demand and uptake activities.
“This programme seeks to understand the beliefs, fears, rumours, questions, and suggestions circulating in communities about the Covid-19, including the vaccine and use this to inform the response,” said ZRCS secretary-general Elias Hwenga.
“We also want to reduce community fear, stigma, and misinformation, including on the vaccine as well as building trust in the response and the health advice shared, including on the vaccine.”
Hwenga said the programme will also help communities share timely, accurate information about Covid-19, and the vaccine, through most trusted channels.
Chegutu district medical officer Tonderai Nhende said there was a need for people to continue practising ways that help reduce the spread of respiratory viruses.
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“The declaration by WHO was more of a technical statement; I would not say that we are out of the woods,” he said.
“Its winter time and the virus is more in transmission and more active so we are keeping on vaccinating and spreading messages of hygiene and encouraging people to wear masks.”
Nhende said there was an urgent need to ensure that transmission was mitigated at all costs possible.
“In as much as cases have gone down, we are not yet safe, we have things to do so that we prevent transmission,” he said.
He said the Covid-19 door-to-door campaign was an important aspect to ensure that the country reaches 70% herd immunity.
Part of the programme includes training of ZRCS volunteers and village health workers as well as community leaders and influencers like traditional leaders, footballers, businesspeople and church leaders, among others.