Nkhotakota District Council Chairperson Councillor Wanangwa Harawa told delegates at the Influential Leaders Orientation Workshop for Covid-19 Vaccination organised by Malawi Red Cross Society on Tuesday that leaders should take lead in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
“Lead by example, get the vaccine first. If people see you or hear that you have been vaccinated, they will also do the same,” said Councillor Harawa.
He also advised delegates to be attentive during the workshop and ensure they put to right use the information they get to help fight Covid-19 pandemic.
During the workshop, it transpired that increased myths and misinformation associated with Covid-19 vaccines at the Community level and high rate of defaulters in the AstraZeneca second dose due to reactions of the first dose are some of the challenges rocking the vaccination exercise in the district.
Deputy Coordinator of Extended Programme on Immunisation in Nkhotakota, Esther Taulo said as a way forward, the District Health Office plans to intensify community awareness using different platforms and increase community engagement and catch-up activities to ensure more people get vaccinated.
In his remarks, Malawi Red Cross Society Coordination Manage Roster Kufandiko pleaded with the leaders to help in the fight against the pandemic by using their influence in the society to encourage more people to go for Covid-19 vaccination and also abide by set preventive measures.
“We know that traditional leaders command so much authority in the community, many people obey their orders. Even religious leaders have a fair share of authority, people listen to what they say. We want them to use that to influence people to get the jabs.” Said Kufandiko.
Traditional Authority (TA) Kafuzira who spoke on behalf of traditional leaders, told us the knowledge acquired during the workshop will help her make right communications on Covid-19 which will in turn help eradicate the pandemic.
Said TA Kafuzira, “when I return home, I will call for a meeting to share what I have learnt here. This will be a continuous thing; I will keep on encouraging people to follow preventive measures and most importantly get vaccinated.”
As of September 7, 2021, only about 6013 people were fully vaccinated for Covid-19 in Nkhotakota out of the 417,000 estimated population.