By Solister Mogha
Zomba, Mana: Malawi Network for Older Persons (MANEPO) with funds from United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) intends to reach out to 30,000 older persons across the country with COVID-19 vaccines.
Speaking at Sakata Ground in Zomba, MANEPO Country Director, Andrew Kavala disclosed this Saturday launched a COVID-19 vaccine campaign that seeks to encourage elderly people to get the vaccines.
He said of all the age groups, the elderly are at risk of dying from the disease; hence, the need to be vaccinated.
Kavala said during the previous routine COVID-19 vaccine campaigns, data shows that many older persons did not take the vaccine due to a number of factors such as distance to the vaccination sites, saying the campaign would provide suitable environment for the elderly to take the vaccines.
“When we noticed the gaps, we sourced the funds so that we run a special campaign targeting the elderly,” he added.
The Director said MANEPO has devised a number of strategies aimed at motivating the elderly to be vaccinated and stay safe.
“We intend to use the Media, particularly, community radio stations in spreading the messages and also clear all the myths and misconceptions. In addition, we will do door-to-door visits just accommodate those with walking difficulties,” Kavala said.
He appealed to elderly persons to take the campaign seriously as the objective was to save life.
“Though cases seem to have gone down in the country but that does not mean we should relax, chances are that the disease may come again,” Kavala said.
Zomba District Social Welfare Officer, Christopher Ndaona hailed MANEPO for coming up with what he called ‘a special package for the elderly.’
He said the campaign would provide an opportunity to every older personincluding those with disabilities to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
‘We are doing our part as government in the fight against COVID-19. We are thankful when partners come in to help,” Ndaona said.
One of the elderly persons who received the vaccine on the day of the launch, Adamson Sikelo said he was happy to have received the vaccine.
He said prevention was better than cure saying my decision to take the vaccine was arrived at having weighed all the options.
Traditional Authority (TA) Nkagula promised to encourage more elderly people to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
About 200 elderly people received the vaccine during the first day.