District Commissioner for Dowa, Alex Mdooko, has expressed concern that most people in the district are not wearing masks as part of the COVID-19 preventive measures despite the council’s effort to provide free masks.
Mdooko observed that most of the villagers in the district are still believe that COVID-19 is a disease for urban dwellers and as such, they are not following COVID-19 preventive measures.
He, therefore, expressed the need for enhanced sensitization in order for rural masses to change their thinking and accept that COVID-19 is real and has affected the district as evidenced by the number of confirmed cases and deaths.
Mdooko spoke this during a Public Health Emergency Management Committee (PHEMC) when officials from the Ministry of Health visited the district to assess progress on the implementation of the Council’s COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, expressing hope that the vaccine uptake will be high so as to reduce the number of people falling seriously ill after being infected.
He observed that customers of some banks at Mponela could be at risk as they are seen on the queue outside the banks without wearing masks, appealing to management of the banks to look into this seriously.
“I am urging the management of the banks to do more to provide safety to customers visiting the banks and customers, as the situation is now, customers are not safe and the communities those customers are coming from, are not safe as well,”said Mdooko.
In response, the Team Leader of the team from the Ministry of Health, Doreen Namagetsi Ali, said that her team was impressed with the progress in the implementation of the Council’s Preparedness Plan observing that there is good coordination which is a key to achieving good results.
On vaccine uptake, Ali said despite other people shunning the vaccine, the Council should still continue advocating for increased uptake, urging the PHEMC to mainstream COVID-19 activities in their day-to-day work noting that mainstreaming would not require special funding.
“We can mainstream Covid-19 activities with or without funding, let’s change our mindset towards allowances to serve many from the devastating pandemic which nobody knows when this will go,” she said.
Speaking earlier, Dowa District Hospital’s Environmental Health Officer, Precious Mzungu, commended people in the district for embracing guidelines in the burial of COVID-19 dead bodies observing that during the first and second wave, the communities were very hostile against health officials even chasing them away but this time around, they are being welcomed into the communities with thanks to changing of mindset.