By Owen Nyaka
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) for Salima district have come to an agreement on how to move forward in supporting the communities with information and resources to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Speaking during CSO networking monthly meeting held at Kindle Orphan outreach hall, Chairperson for Salima CSO network who is also Executive Director for Salima AIDS Support Organisation (SASO),Paul Duncan says the network has agreed to work in partnership as one way to avoid duplication of efforts and resources such as training of health workers, reporters, volunteers and even radio programs.
He said World Vision Malawi, Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) and CARE International in Malawi shared what they have done in the last quarter.
“Apart from having managed to learn from each other regarding how they are responding to COVID-19 in the district. It has been noticed that there is duplication of efforts for instance most of our partners have paid for phone in programmes to our two community radios in the district and most of these programmes were aired on same days.
“World Vision in the previous quarter trained about 40 journalists (community radio volunteers inclusive) and CARE Malawi had planned in the coming quarter to train 20 journalists.So you can see that it would have been the same people getting training over and over again,” says Paul Duncan.
The meeting also observed that a number of CSO’s have been working and supporting the District Hospital with trainings and donations, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) inclusive yet there are other health facilities within the district that has not need reached.
The CSO networking meeting which was organized with support from Swiss Red Cross through Malawi Red Cross Society also agreed to have joined monitoring and supervision visits.
MRCS District Project Coordinator for Salima Manfoster Moyo told the CSO network that his organisation has a budget for fuel which they can support other partners with transportespecially on conducting monitoring and supervision visits towards the fight against COVID-19.
Moyo said Malawi Red Cross Society operated in traditional authority Khombedza programme catchment area population of 68,832 with 12, 820 households have managed to train 270 volunteers; 25 participants per batch because of the minimum of 100 people towards preparedness, prevention and control of COVID-19.
They have also achieved to reach 3, 231 households through house to house visit in order to raise awareness by trained volunteers and provision of soap to the visited households.
Hand washing buckets and soap has been distributed in 9 markets, 7 outreach clinics and 24 growth monitoring centres.
There has been also distribution of soap to Chatata, Khombedza and Thavite health facilities. Van publicity, jingles and radio phone in programmes have been also conducted.
Care International in Malawi, Assistant Project Manager for Tidzidalire Project, Gerald Kosamu said in the COVID-19 response they have managed to reduce number of people per meeting to 20, cancelled inter-district travelling, shifting of community meeting activities and activities with group gatherings.
CARE International in Malawi has also trained health workers and support staff on COVID-19 from Baptist, Chagunda, Chipoka, MAFCO, Maganga, Mchoka and Salima District Hospital; 53 Health Workers, 56 Health Surveillance Assistance (HAS’s) and 70 support staff and project staff, a total of 198.
Orientation of Community volunteers, school patrons and head teachers. A target of key volunteers 209 volunteers were trained 23 men and 37 females, Care group Promoters 8 men and 35 females and 109 Village Agents (VA’s). About 83 primary school and CDSS teachers and head teachers were trained.
On orientation of nutrition structures, community structures and community leaders, 100 VNCC members were reached, 56 males and 44 females. These were HAS’s who were not trained in the first training, CDA’s, AEDO’s and SHN teachers.
“We procure and distributed PPE materials to Salima District Hospital such as 10 water HPE 14 litres buckets, 5 water container 10 litres, 200 Alcohol Hand Sanitizer bottles, 100 Hand washing liquid soap, 340 surgical gloves and 300 examination gloves, 2000 plastic aprons and 900 N95 Masks,” says Kosamu.
He said they have also procured and distributed 16,000 English and Chichewa leaflets and these materials have been distributed to Salima district hospital, 7 health centres, TA meeting centresand to more than 500 volunteers to distribute to their cluster and VSL group members.
Care International in Malawi just like Malawi Red Cross Society has been also using mobile van and Phone-in-programmes.
World Vision Malawi which is working in Salima at Chinguluwe targeting 18,687 people and in Khombedza targeting 36,677 in which Malawi Red Cross Society is also targeting the same people also distributed 58 hand washing buckets, conducted community sensitization on COVID-19 using public address system.
It has also distributed 4 buckets and 10kilograms of powdered soap and hand washing soap in the 2 health facilities of Chinguluwe and Khombedza, supported training of 98 health workers, distribution of 75 kilograms of chlorine and 495 pairs of disposable latex gloves to the two facilities.
Distribution of 2, 460 isolation gowns, 4, 000 surgical caps, 3, 600 shoe covers, 11,000 surgical head gear and many other medical suppliers to SDH. Orientation on COVID-19 to 64 community volunteers, 40 traditional leaders and 36 pastors have been conducted amongst others.
World Vision Malawi, District Programs Manager for Salima and Dedza, Thokozani Chibwana told the CSO gathering that his organisation has drafted a reporting template where the partners can just fill in what they have done in order to avoid duplication.
The Salima CSO’s are also committed to continue working on helping the communities to safe guard girl child during this time when the schools are closed due to COVID-19 considering their high risk to early pregnancies and marriages as they are not kept busy with educational activities.