Mat south appeals for more Covid-19 vaccination teams
Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Chronicle Reporter
THE leadership from Matabeleland South province has called for more Covid-19 vaccination mobile outreach teams to be deployed to remote parts of the province in order to scale up the vaccination exercise and attain herd immunity.
Parliamentarians and traditional leaders from the province said most people now want to be vaccinated but they were being discouraged by long distances which they have to walk to get to clinics. They also said there was a need to ensure undisrupted supply of vaccines at rural health centres as some people were giving up after walking long distances only to be told the vaccines had run out.
In an interview Beitbridge West Member of Parliament, Cde Ruth Maboyi said mobile outreach teams were yet to reach some remote parts of her constituency.
“There is a challenge when it comes to the vaccination programme in rural areas as some villagers have to walk long distances to get to the clinics. To make matters worse some people have been told after walking long distances to get to the clinics that the vaccines had run out. Some of these will be elderly people who would have struggled to get to the clinics,” said Cde Maboyi, who is also the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage.
She said there is a need for the Ministry of Health and Child Care officials to engage stakeholders when deploying outreach teams so that all areas are covered.
“At first people were reluctant to be vaccinated but we have engaged them and most of them are now willling to be vaccinated. The challenge now is long distances travelled and the erratic supply of vaccines. There should be constant supply of vaccines at all vaccination centres so that people are not turned away,” said Deputy Minister Maboyi.
Chief Bango from Mangwe district said when mobile vaccination teams came to his area, there was an overwhelming response.
He however said not all areas were covered hence there was a need for the exercise to be conducted again.
Chief Bango said people in rural areas were now realising the importance of getting vaccinated and there was a need for Government to capitalise on this development.
Headman Matenga in Mangwe district said mobile outreach teams had visited his area but left out some remote parts. He said some people from his area had indicated that they wanted to get vaccinated but long distances to health institutions were hindering them.
Headman Matenga said some people said they could not travel long distances to vaccination centres unless they were guaranteed that the vaccines were available.
“It’s easier for people in urban areas to go back to the clinics after failing to get the vaccine because the clinics were close compared to distances that most rural people travel,” he said.
Garanyemba village head, Mr Mike Ndlovu said mobile outreach teams had not reached his area and people were eagerly waiting for them.
He said Garanyemba Clinic was servicing seven villages and some people had to walk more than 10 kilometres to get there.
“I understand that some people were turned away after the vaccines ran out and others who are due for the second dose are now reluctant to return as there is no guarantee they will be vaccinated,” he said.
Government has engaged in a massive vaccination drive in a bid to attain herd immunity. Some of the strategies include turning all health institutions into vaccination centres, deploying mobile vaccination teams to remote areas, allowing churches to invite vaccinaton teams to their premises and also allowing private institutions to vaccinate.- @DubeMatutu