Covid prevention campaign launched for vulnerable communities in Zimbabwe
A public health expert at the University of Wolverhampton is working in collaboration with the University of Zimbabwe to educate the prevention of Covid-19 in vulnerable communities.
An award-winning researcher, Dr Moses Murandu at the University of Wolverhampton and Dr Julita Maradzika a lecturer in Public Health and Knowledge Management specialist from the University of Zimbabwe have launched a prevention programme to provide education, support and guidance to communities in Zimbabwe protecting themselves against Covid-19.
In March 2020, Dr Murandu and Dr Maradzika formed the ‘Covid-19 Transformative Public Health Education’ team in Zimbabwe to help communicate vital to reduce the spread of infection in displaced communities of Mandebvu and Epworth.
These communities were considered as vulnerable to the spread of the infection due to living in overcrowded conditions - making it difficult to adopt social distancing as well as having limited access to clean water and little access to public health education.
The team translated visual key messages about Covid-19 into the local SHONA language – the definition, signs and symptoms, prevention at home, managing the illness, and the importance around isolation, social distancing, nutrition, cleanliness, and face masks.
The team also held road shows around the IDP communities using a mobile van to enable them to share this vital information and for them to have the opportunity to access vaccinations and other vital services for Covid-19 prevention.
Now, almost two years on, the communities now have the education and regular access to the information they need to protect themselves and their loved ones against the virus.
A public health information centre has also been built by the members of the community with support from the University of Zimbabwe, to create a place for people to get the information and healthcare they require.
The team continues to raise awareness through a range of alternative communication methods such as campaigns using loudspeakers song and dance to support the community and reduce their vulnerability to Covid-19 and other communicable diseases.
Dr Moses Murandu, Senior Lecturer in Adult Nursing and Researcher in the Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing at the University of Wolverhampton said: “It was such a privilege to have worked with Dr Maradzika and the wonderful team of village health workers.
“There has been a strong bond of collaboration between the University of Zimbabwe Public Health Department and the University of Wolverhampton’s Faculty of Education Health and Wellbeing to work as a team to protect those who need it most.
“By working together, we were able to meet the needs of the community, raise awareness and reduce the spread of the virus.
“We were also able to develop a health centre which is a fantastic outcome of the programme and will greatly benefit the community moving forwards.”
Dr Julita Chideme-Maradzika, Lecturer of Health Sciences at the University of Zimbabwe said: “It’s been fantastic to work with the University on this vital programme to protect our vulnerable communities.
“I really enjoyed working with the village health workers and observing them as they learned about Covid-19 prevention.
“We used drama, role-plays and group discussions to explain social distancing, washing hands sanitising and the importance of the use of face masks. They had a lot to share in terms of what the community thinks about Covid-19 and how they can prevent its spread.
“Having the expertise across all groups was crucial to be able to make this programme a success and protect our most vulnerable communities.”
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