COVID-19 has hit Malawi. With only 17 ventilators and 25 intensive care unit beds for its entire population of 18 million people, Malawi has meager resources to intervene with COVID cases. The rural areas are even more vulnerable with no access to running water, electricity, or hospitals within traveling distance. That is why Pamoza is working to keep COVID away from the communities we serve in rural Malawi.
Pamoza will implement four primary prevention strategies:
- Educating the community - our communities need education about social distancing, how COVID spreads, and actions they can take to prevent the virus from spreading. This will require Pamoza to hire facilitators to do household-level education. We will also need a car with a PA system to drive around with COVID messaging. Our target is the TA Chindi area in Mzimba, North Malawi which has a population of 162,000 but very few organizations and resources available.
- Protecting our staff and those we serve - we know that face masks and gloves can help protect people from the virus. Pamoza has a tailoring program where we can make face masks for community members. In addition, we will be prioritizing the safety of our staff by providing them with personal protective equipment so that they can safely visit households and also protect their own families.
- Modeling appropriate behavior - Pamoza is uniquely positioned to have great impact because we already have community trust, well-established programs, and staff on the ground. People are willing to listen to us, but what we do speaks louder than what we say. Therefore, our staff will be modeling what they are teaching - practicing social distancing, covering their mouth and nose, and washing their hands - in order to encourage others to do the same.
- Improving hygiene and sanitation - The efforts used to fight COVID are the same for fighting other preventable diseases that have affected our communities. The promotion of handwashing, hygiene and sanitation, and healthier community interactions will continue beyond our COVID campaign so that we can effect sustainable change.
Please support our campaign to prevent COVID-19 in rural Malawi and improve health for years to come.