Community members from Zaka, Muzarabani, Zaka, Buhera and Gokwe have challenged government and other stakeholders to share adequate information on the new Covid 19 vaccine using readily available mediums such as radio. This came out during a virtual dialogue organised by communities working with Heal Zimbabwe on 1 February 2021.
The dialogue meeting is part of efforts meant to scale up community resilience and share local level strategies that can help communities fight COVID 19.Community members highlighted that there has been little or no information on the effectiveness of the vaccine and this has given leeway to misinformation especially on social media platforms such as WhatsApp. “We have been told that once you take the vaccine you automatically join Satanism and that the vaccine has serious side effects,” said one participant from Muzarabani. Participants also highlighted that some religious sects in the area were also advising their members against taking the vaccine. However; some community members expressed optimism over the effectiveness of the vaccine but noted that there was need for stakeholders to communicate effectively and transparently regarding the full benefits and risks of vaccination. Added to this, participants also underscored the need for health personnel to be trained so that they give relevant and comprehensive information in a respectable and culturally sensitive manner to communities. Such a process will however require buy-in from religious, political and other community leaders who will need to be utilised to spread accurate information to their followers.
The virtual dialogues by Heal Zimbabwe are an initiative meant to create platforms for communities to discuss and collectively identify ways through which they can proffer solutions to problems in their communities. The virtual platforms also equip communities with relevant information on Covid 19, GBV and human rights. Virtual platforms are also platforms that facilitate local level conversations on pertinent issues affecting communities as well as create socially cohesive communities.
Source: Heal Zimbabwe