Uncle Harvest writes: "A call to renewed vigor on Covid 19 civic education"
The Ministry of Health in Malawi should move vaccination centres out of Health Centres to where the people live and work.
If as Malawians we can be blunt and honest with ourselves, we can say without fear of contradiction that our enthusiasm and vigor in bringing about Covid 19 awareness and its prevention measures has gone down from what it was at the beginning of the year 2021.
On the other hand, we must also admit that misinformation, disinformation and myths on vaccinations continue to spread increasing vaccination hesitancy and reluctance in various communities across the country.
The Ministry of Health, Ministry of Civic Education, NICE and other key civic education players need to re-strategize on this aspect.
One or two things can be done to re-energize Covid 19 prevention measures civic education,and more particularly the encouragement of people to take the vaccination.
First, the Ministry of Health should adopt what others call "the Barbershop approach".
The vaccination programme should be taken to where the people normally gather for social interaction.
This in combination with the civic education engagement.
Some of such places would be sports arenas, churches, mosques, wedding events and trading centres. Should I dare even say drinking places. The Ministry should move vaccination centres out of Health Centres to where the people live and work.
Serious consideration must be taken to use creatives in the creation of jingles, songs, short plays, etc as communication tools.
The Minister of Health and the Covid19 Taskforce must re-consider bringing back the daily evening briefings on the Covid19 status.
If not, at least do it twice weekly. Community and social influencers must be used in providing motivation, information and encouragement to people to go for vaccination.
It must be born in mind that such outreaches are motivational in nature. Motivation, though, is like petty cash, it goes down with use and time, you constantly need to replenish for it to always be high.
It can therefore never be said that we have had enough exposure of the Covid19 prevention messages.
Those that spread myths, misinformation and disinformation seem to be more enthusiastic than those who have the right information.
The Ministry of Health must not be tempted revert to the business as usual attitude and approach that oftentimes characterize government business.
These are extra-ordinary times that call for extraordinary measures.
Let us keep our eyes on the ball.
Right now what we see is that the numbers of people receiving vaccines is on a downward slope despite the availability of vaccines.