Elderly people in Bulilima, Plumtree are struggling to access Covid-19 vaccination sites due to the long distances they have to travel and have called on the government to establish more vaccination sites. This came out during a Covid-19 awareness roadshow campaign by the Western Region Foundation in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Wednesday, which was held in areas that include Ndiweni line, Diba, Kantana, Bhagani, Nyele, Tokwana, Gwembe, and Thekwane village.
During the Covid-19 roadshow awareness campaign, Western Region Foundation donated hand sanitisers and face masks to over 1000 villagers. In an interview with CITE, Adelaide Sibanda from ward 21, Thekwane line said primary health care facilities are situated far away from their homesteads. “We stay far away from primary health care centres and we are now old, we had to go all the way to Plumtree to access the vaccine,” said Sibanda. Sibanda urged other villagers to go to the clinics to access the Covid -19 vaccines and for parents to encourage their children over the age of 18 to go for vaccination.
Olly Msindo also from Thekwane village said at times when they go to the clinics they are told the vaccines are not available. “We have few vaccination centres, at times you could go for about three times and be told that the vaccines are finished, people could get tired of going to the clinic and not be able to access the vaccines considering that they would have walked long distances.
“We walk long distances to access these vaccines as we do not have any clinic nearby, this is a burden to us especially old people. Old people are not able to access our health care facilities to access Covid-19 vaccinations as the clinics are located far away,” said Headman Nkomo.
“At times when other villagers go to the clinics, they are told that the vaccines are finished, they return home without accessing the vaccines. We are appealing for mobile clinics so that it could go around vaccinating especially the old people,” he said.
Another villager, Siqhoza from the Diba line said villagers walk about 13 kilometres, a single journey to access the nearest clinics. “We walk about 13km a single journey to access the clinics, we depend on clinics in others areas as we do not have our clinics, we wish we could be told the specific days when vaccines are available so that people could access them, we want to be vaccinated but the issue of long-distance is a hindrance to us,” said Siqhoza.
Ward 21 Councillor, Ndiweni Line, Nani Ndlovu added that the community has had Covid-19 cases and villagers are now aware that the global pandemic is real. “Some people have died, some have even tested Covid-19 positive and got seriously ill,” said Ndlovu.
She said there has been an influx of people from other wards coming into the ward to access the vaccines. “The clinics in this ward cater for wards two and four villagers, so we are now overwhelmed but there is now hope as construction of clinics in other areas is in progress,” said Cllr Ndlovu.
Meanwhile, Taurai Moyo from the Ministry of Health and Child Care encouraged villagers to avoid attending funerals which have been identified as Covid-19 hotspots.
Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology