In response to the devastating effects of Cyclone Freddy in Balaka District, Malawi, the Malawi Network for Older Persons Organization (MANEPO) has launched a door-to-door vaccination campaign to help protect the affected community from Covid-19.
Over 3411 households, equivalent to 5000 people, were affected by the cyclone, and many have lost their homes and livelihoods, leaving them vulnerable to diseases like cholera, diarrhea, and Covid-19.
During the recent launch of the Covid-19 door-to-door campaign at Namanolo ground Traditional Authority Amidu in the district, District Chief Health Preventive Officer Blessings Chitsime explained that vaccinating people against Covid-19 is like providing an additional layer of protection to the public from deadly infections.
“If people come together in a crowded place, they are at risky of contracting many diseases so what MANEPO and other partners are doing in Balaka is quite recommendable, vaccinating people from covid 19 is like putting more protection to the public from deadly infection,” Chitsime said.
MANEPO’s Humanitarian Manager, Nitike Ngwira, also highlighted the importance of educating people on the benefits of vaccination. She announced that they decided to launch the campaign before starting to vaccinate door-to-door, as a way of demonstrating the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and removing any misconceptions people may have.
“We first launched the campaign in Zomba now we decide of launching here at Balaka and our next district is Machinga so after the launch we will start vaccinating door to door, we do not forget the older people because due to the challenges of walking many shun to visit the hospital this prompted the idea of vaccinating them at their homes,” Ngwira said.
Ngwira also noted that older people are often unable to visit hospitals due to mobility issues, so MANEPO will vaccinate them at their homes. During the launch, 96 people, including older people, were vaccinated.
Traditional Authority Amidu, who witnessed the launch, expressed her gratitude for the initiative, emphasizing the suffering of those affected by Cyclone Freddy, and the urgent need for assistance from the government and well-wishers. She also urged the community to receive the vaccine, stating that she is a living example of the first people who received the vaccine in the area.
“I am asking for urgent help from the government and other well-wishers in my area people are suffering, we have only received food for the past 2 days which is not enough as I am saying we have lost our farms and everything so our hope dwells on the donated items,” said Amidu
The door-to-door vaccination campaign launch was under the theme “No one is safe until everyone is vaccinated, including older people,” and is a welcome development for the affected community. It offers hope for a better future, as the community begins to recover from the devastation of Cyclone Freddy and protect themselves against Covid-19.