COVID-19 Orientations with Community leaders in Zomba

Global Fund through Action Aid is providing financial support to MANASO, MANET+, MIAA and MBCA. The financial support is being utilized in engaging community structures so as to enhance adherence to prevention measures of COVID-19. MANASO has oriented local leaders (MANASO network members) in four districts (Likoma, Zomba, Mulanje and Blantyre) and is remaining with Mangochi, Salima, Nkhotakota, Ntchisi and Lilongwe. MANASO is targeting 1000 local leaders split in 9 districts. The initiative is among the actions taken by CSOs to support MoHP-DHMT in the implementation of COVID-19 plan for the district in order to strengthen standardization, implementation, coordination and monitoring of COVID19 activities as well as to strengthen collaboration of partners in the COVID19 response.

OBJECTIVES

  • Increase coordination of COVID-19 interpersonal communication activities at district and community levels
  • Share lessons, best practices and challenges during COVID-19 activities
  • Share opportunities for coordination and collaboration
  • Review district data/feedback on COVID-19
  • To get feedback from support groups and the PLHIV community on access and uptake of HIV services during COVID-19
  • To monitor the extent of integration for COVID-19 with other diseases (HIV, TB, Malaria)

RATIONALE FOR THE ACTIVITY 

  • Strengthen coordination and monitoring adherence of community to COVID-19 preventive measures
  • Continuous dissemination of COVID-19 prevention measures
  • Develop action plans for FBOs and CBOs

FINDINGS/OBSERVATIONS  

Communities are not following COVID-19 Preventive measures

Communities have relaxed in following COVID-19 preventive measures. Most people are not wearing masks in crowded places like markets and bars. Wearing masks correctly has also been observed as a challenge for most community members. Markets and bars are not following the opening and closing schedules which are stipulated in the guide lines.

Lack of IEC materials/credible sources of information for Local leaders to disseminate

Most rural communities do not have access to credible COVID-19 preventive measures information which has contributed heavily to poor adoption or following of COVID-19 prevention measures. There are misconceptions in our communities in regards to COVID-19 which will only be eliminated if the community leaders have the right information. Efforts need to be made to train or orient more community leaders and equip them with the right information and continuous dissemination of COVID-19 information through IEC materials.   

Ultra-poor households unable to secure face masks

There are households that live below the poverty line, thus they spend less than Mk850 (one US dollar) per day. Most face masks range from Mk250-Mk2,000. Households in rural areas would prioritize food than securing a mask. CSOs are implementing initiatives to ensure such households are supported. For example, in Zomba a few organizations are donating Likuni phala (porridge) for children in homes, face masks to Zomba prison, the youth and the elderly. Such initiatives need to be implemented on a large scale.

Focus on Prevention 

There is no scientifically proven cure for COVID-19. As such, treatment for COVID-19 is very expensive considering the status of the health system in Malawi. The health system does not have the capacity to accommodate all infected persons. Hence as a nation, we need to focus more on prevention. Local leaders have been encouraged to enforce covid-19 preventive measures in their respective communities.

STAY SAFE#MASK UP#SANITIZE#SOCIAL DISTANCE#IF NOT FOR YOU, DO IT FOR THEM