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Project Last Mile Creating Demand for Covid Vaccine Uptake

 Thyolo and Zomba have low vaccine uptake - Chikonga Thyolo and Zomba have low vaccine uptake - Chikonga - pic by Luka Beston

In the wake of a looming Covid-19 fourth wave, Project Last Mile has embarked on a six-month campaign in Thyolo and Zomba districts to scale up Covid-19 vaccine uptake.

Speaking to Zodiak Online on Friday after briefing stakeholders in Thyolo, project's country manager, Alexander Chikonga, says the initiative which is being bankrolled by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Coca-Cola aims at creating demand to improve vaccine uptake through a collective care campaign.

Chikonga indicated that through various social mobilisation activities they will empower positive gatekeepers and decision makers to be ambassadors of influencing the communities on the need to get the jab, so as to protect those with chronic diseases.

"Thyolo is one of the districts which are not doing well in the Covid-19 vaccine uptake. So our entry is at household level, we want to make sure that if I have got someone that has chronic diseases within my family, I need to protect them from the virus through vaccination," Chikonga said.

Project Last Mile has partnered with the Ministry of Health and the Multimedia Team in the initiative which centres on Ubuntu concept.

On his part, Thyolo District Medical Officer, Dr. Denis Solomon, has described the project as key in triggering vaccine demand in the districts currently ranked least in the country.

Dr. Solomon said: "As a country, we might have lessened the Covid-19 talks, but the pandemic is still a threat as you know it has always been hitting us in waves. So their coming is benefial to the district at large as they will help to create demand and push this vaccine commodity."

In messaging, the organisation is expected to erect billboards of influencial figures in strategic places, conduct road shows, organising sporting activities and also create media products in a bid to convince communities who are believing in myths and misconceptions sorrounding the pandemic and the vaccines.

In addition, according to Chikonga, the villages which will perform well in the vaccination drive would stand a chance to receiving iron sheets for roofing communal structures in their areas as rewards.

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