BMF JOINS OTHER STAKEHOLDERS IN EFFORTS TO COMBAT COVID-19
The Government and CSO’s in the country have agreed to come together to bolster efforts in the fight against COVID-19 in order to reach the target of administering vaccinations to 30 million citizens by end of 2022.
This was said during the session, “Civil Society and COVID-19: Dealing with a New Pandemic in Tanzania,” hosted by the Benjamin William Mkapa Foundation (BMF). Dr. Adeline Nyamwihura, Programme Manager at BMF said that in order for there to be an effective health service delivery when it comes to administering vaccinations to citizens, then all important stakeholders must come together in order to demystify myths, create awareness and foster behavioural change in the community. “If we want to be successful in this campaign, then we must start with involving the grass root community – the people themselves, then come up to CSOs and the Government,” she insisted.
Her statement was supported by Dr. Florian Tinuga, the Manager in-charge of the National Vaccination Programme under the Ministry of Health, who said that the Government cannot achieve this vital task alone, hence, the need to work together with stakeholders such as; the civil society, religious institutions and the private sector in order to make this possible. “As of today, the Government has succeeded to vaccinate a total of 987,000 people, 960,000 with Janssen and Jenssen and 27,000 through the SinoPharm first dose,” noted the Government official. He continued, “Our target is that by the end of 2022, 60 per cent of the population should be vaccinated, which accounts to 30 million people.
As you can see, we still have a steep mountain to climb, but together I believe we can make it,” said Dr. Tinuga. Also sitting on the panel, Dr. Alex Mphuru, a represented from UNICEF said that according to research conducted by his institution, more people are now willing to receive the COVID-19 vaccination dose rather than before when the disease was quite new to the society.
On his side, Dr. Beatus Leon, the Director of Capacity Building and Institutional Strengthening at Family Health International (fhi360), who also specializes in Risk Communication noted that it is equally important to come up with a strategic communication plan in order to target the community effectively with the right messages and through proper communication channels.
Overall, the meeting also called upon different stakeholders to continue sensitizing the community to not be complacent in the fight against COVID-19. “We must remind people in our communities to continue to wear masks when necessary, wash our hands with soap, use sanitizers, and encourage voluntary vaccination,” echoed different discussants in the room.