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JournAids worried over end to Covid-19 as a public health emergency

By Lovemore Khomo

JournAids Program Manager Dingaan Mithi

Journalists Association against AIDS (JournAids) has expressed concern over World Health Organisation’s declaration that Covid-19 is no longer a public health emergency for both Malawi and globally.

The organisation argues that the development is likely going to discourage the masses on vaccine uptake.

JournAids Program Manager Dingaan Mithi spoke during a Media Science Cafe in Lilongwe where he expressed the need for journalists support the cause through accurate information sharing with the public about the importance of getting a jab.

Mithi said media plays a critical role in a society as it provides correct, accurate and truthful information hence the need to positively continue reporting on Covid-19 which left thousands dead and tens of thousands with an illness mark.

Currently, Malawi has managed to vaccinate 4 million people which is equivalent to 30% of its population from 70% target. Countries that reaches 70% are considered as head immunity, and its people are safe.

“Countries like Malawi to reach a target, we rely on aggressive media and committed to these issues. If we continue raising public awareness that Covid is not over, many people will come out and get vaccinated.” Mithi explained.

JournAids reflected on the newly introduced Pandemic Fund by World Bank, saying Malawi will benefit from this initiative and shall need monitoring strategies, for transparency and accountability.

Deputy Director for Preventive Health Services responsible for Health Education in the Ministry of Health Mabvuto Thomas

The Pandemic Fund intends to strengthen laboratory capacity, human resource and disease surveillance in developing countries in order to easily prepare and respond to future pandemics.

“This is a major step forward, as we want journalists in Malawi be involved in rolling out Pandemic Fund to ensure transparency and accountability.” Dingaan Mithi added.

According to World Bank, in February, 2023, the Pandemic Fund Governing Board approved $300 million in financing for its first round of funding to help developing countries better prepare for and respond to future pandemics.

On the other hand, Deputy Director for Preventive Health Services responsible for Health Education in the Ministry of Health, Mabvuto Thomas admitted that Covid-19 still exists amongst population and people should not forget to take of themselves.

Thomas warned of a new variant that needs a better preparedness for the future response through various interventions including the Pandemic Fund.

Since 2020, Malawi registered 88,640 Covid-19 cases and 2,686 recorded deaths. Meanwhile, the country has managed to only vaccinate 4 million out of 18 million people which represents 30%.

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