Local Communities Set up Covid 19 Awareness Teams to Tackle Vaccine Hesitancy

Communities working with Heal Zimbabwe in Mashonaland Central, Masvingo and Manicaland have established COVID-19 Awareness teams as part of efforts to encourage communities to get vaccinated. This resolution was adopted during a virtual dialogue discussion on the impact of covid-19 on peace building organised by communities working with Heal Zimbabwe on 25 July 2021.

Participants noted that owing to a lack of awareness on the efficacy of the covid 19 vaccines, there is rampant vaccine hesitancy in local communities. ”Here in Muzarabani few people know about the vaccines hence we have heard different conspiracies. Because of this, there is a low uptake of the vaccines here in Muzarabani”, said a participant. It was also revealed during the dialogue meeting that religious beliefs are one of the major hurdles standing in the way of the mass vaccination programme as most people have been advised by their religious leaders not to take the vaccine. ”Religious beliefs have dealt a heavy blow to the mass vaccination programme. If nothing is done, it is going to be difficult to achieve herd immunity”, added another participant from Buhera. As part of solutions to counter vaccine hesitancy participants resolved to set up Covid 19 Awareness teams that will raise awareness on the advantages of getting vacinnated. These teams will be chaired by Village Health Workers (VHWs) that will work hand in glove with local clinics and hospitals to gather correct and accurate information concerning the vaccines. Participants also resolved to continue monitoring human rights observance during the covid 19 induced lockdowns as in the past there has been a spike in cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in local communities.

The virtual meetings by Heal Zimbabwe are part of efforts to empower local communities to help safeguard against human rights abuse and also help build peaceful communities. Heal Zimbabwe utilizes various strategies to address conflicts in local communities. One of these ways is the use of community dialogues, an initiative for communities to discuss and collectively identify ways through which they can proffer solutions to problems in their communities. The platforms also equip communities with relevant information on covid-19, Gender Based Violence (GBV) and human rights. Such platforms also facilitate local level conversations on pertinent issues affecting communities as well as create socially cohesive communities.

Source: Heal Zimbabwe

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