ZADHR urges Government to ramp up Covid-19 vaccine education campaign

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) has urged the Ministry of Health and Child Care to conduct a robust campaign to educate Zimbabweans on the benefits of Covid-19 vaccination amid a low uptake of the vaccine in the country. As of April 6, 2021, a total of 162 633 people nationwide have taken Covid-19 vaccines.

According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, 15 133 people received their first dose bringing the cumulative number for the first dose vaccination to 139 133 while 1 444 received their second dose bringing the cumulative for second doses to 23 500. The target for Zimbabwe is to vaccinate 10 million people or 60 percent to achieve herd immunity.

But ZADHR believes more campaigns should be done to encourage Zimbabweans to go for the Covid-19 vaccination and dispel myths on Covid-19 vaccines.

“ZADHR notes the poor uptake of vaccination across the country and urges the Ministry of Health and Child Care to do more on vaccine literacy through the enhanced public campaigns to popularise the vaccine roll-out plan on dispelling myths and misconceptions for the purposes of promoting demand for an uptake of vaccines in the country,” said the association as it commemorated the 2021 World Health Day held on April 7.

The theme for this year’s World Health Day is “Building a fairer, healthier world for everyone,” which is again being held in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

ZADHR said Covid-19 has exposed the inadequacies of the country’s health systems.

“We also urge the government of Zimbabwe to invest more in financing the procurement of more vaccines and expanding the geographic reach of the programme. By and large, ZADHR takes this opportunity to reinforce its commitment to partnering the government and other stakeholders in the fight against the pandemic and its attendant consequences to build a strong and resilient health system in the country,” the association said.

ZADHR said it joined all stakeholders in the health sector in taking stock of the gains, misses and opportunities in the fight against Covid 19 in Zimbabwe and noted that the poor, indigent and marginalised communities have suffered the most.

“The situation has further amplified gender, social and health inequalities and calls for governments across the world to make sure that citizens, especially the marginalised are protected from the negative effects of the pandemic socially and economically,” said the human rights doctors.

“In this vein, ZADHR applauds governments across the world on the COVAX initiative, an international solidarity mechanism to make sure that poor countries access vaccines for Covid -19. We believe the initiative if implemented well, has the propensity to support communities in resource-limited countries.”

The doctors also acknowledged that while pushing for receiving a fair share of the global vaccines, they were aware of the strides Zimbabwe’s government has made in sourcing vaccines and the current roll-out plan.

Currently, Zimbabwe has three Covid-19 vaccines available in the country.

These are Sinopharm and Sinovac both manufactured in China plus Covaxin from India.

India donated 35 000 Covaxin Covid-19 vaccines, which are part of the 75 000 doses to be given to Zimbabwe.

Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)