Fighting Covid-19 in high-risk places


By Praises Padambo:

INCLUSIVE — Religious leaders have been roped into the fight

It is a beautiful sunny morning in Lilongwe’s Area 25. Small groups of people are having keen discussions about Covid-19, the raging pandemic that has so far sadly claimed three lives in Malawi.

Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs) have also trekked from different parts of the city to facilitate the discussions.


The rapid spread of the virus in other countries, which has infected over 2 million people and caused 207,000 deaths, prompted President Peter Mutharika to declare a state of national disaster on March 20, a development which preceded the establishment of a National Covid-19 Preparedness and Response Plan.

Various stakeholders are also putting in place measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus.

Lilongwe is one of the high-risk areas in Malawi due to its international airport and has some of the most densely populated locations in the country.


This is what has spurred Concern Worldwide to join the fight against the pandemic by implementing its Covid-19 emergency response project in the city, which aims to prevent the spread of the virus.

The project is being implemented in Mgona area, a peri-urban location outside the city centre with a population of approximately 36,461 people making up to around 8,102 households.

Residents of the area commute regularly across the city often in crowded minibuses, interact in congested marketplaces and often face limited access to water.

Thus, the project aims at developing the capacity of healthcare workers, sensitising and educating the community around the risks and prevention of Covid-19.

“It was difficult to imagine what would become of us if the virus attacked even just one person in Mgona. Obviously, it would spread rapidly because this is a very densely populated area while people do not have adequate information about the disease. That is why the project by Concern Worldwide could not have come at a better time,” says Jenkins Banda, a Senior Assistant Environmental Health Officer at Area 25 Health Centre.

In the project, 30 HSAs, 80 active Community Health Volunteers (CHV) and 52 community leaders in the selected area have been targeted. They have been trained and are playing a vital role in disseminating Covid-19 messages to communities through existing structures to make sure that everyone is well informed.

“Stigma and lack of access to information disadvantage people with disabilities and the elderly and this may hamper their ability to receive vital information on Covid-19. But we are working hard to ensure that vulnerable and at-risk groups such as the elderly, the chronically ill and pregnant women are reached with the necessary information and resources through households’ door-to-door visits in addition to larger community outreach,” explains Concern Worldwide Malawi’s County Director, Yousaf Jogezai.

The trained CHVs are distributing soap to all households in the targeted area to support effective hygiene practices while regularly promoting hygiene best practices and physical distancing.

“This is a great relief which has come at very right time. My household could not afford to get soap for washing, bathing and at the same time, soap for washing hands.

“As such, we were just washing our hands without soap a thing which was putting our lives at risk,” explains Gladys Chaoneka, one of the project’s beneficiaries.

And Jogezai says Concern Worldwide is taking further steps to meet the needs of the less privileged.

“We are also working on advocating with the Lilongwe Water Board and local community leaders for reduced water prices, as well as additional interventions by other implementing partners through the water, sanitation and hygiene cluster,” he says.

Facebook Notice for EU! You need to login to view and post FB Comments!
Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker