Empowering traditional leaders to raise awareness on Covid-19 in communities
Save the Children has been supporting the Ministry of Health and Child Care in facilitating COVID-19 sensitisation and awareness raising trainings for traditional leaders in Hwange district. The leaders were trained on what COVID-19 is, how it is transmitted, how to protect oneself to avoid contracting it, how to handle suspected COVID-19 case in the community, as well as requirements for COVID-19 burials in the community. The trainings are being held across all the 17 rural health centres in the district, and facilitators are from Victoria Falls District Hospital.
As custodians and enforcers of traditional customs and values, traditional leaders are widely respected and influential in their communities. This makes them key in sharing information on COVID-19 so that everyone is well informed about the virus and take action to protect themselves thereby combating the deadly virus. Traditional leaders also help in enforcing adherence to social distancing among other recommended preventative measures, such as reporting cases about border jumpers and returnees from neighbouring countries who escape from quarantine centres and come to the village.
Charles Ncube, a village head for Change village in Hwange who has been attending the trainings says that the trainings are beneficial to their communities as this helps in creating awareness on the COVID-19 pandemic hence helping reduce the spread of the virus.
“This training makes our nation and in particular our area to be aware that COVID-19 exist and COVID-19 is real, so we should be aware and take note of the advice and teaching from our district health team and wear masks, wash our hands, maintain a social distance and report anything suspicious especially that of returnees from neighbouring countries who escape COVID-19 quarantine centres,” he said.
“I will invite community members in my village to a meeting and teach them all that I learnt here so that everyone knows and is aware of how to protect and prevent as well as report suspected cases on the COVID-19 hotline. I will share the hotline number to be on the safe side.”
“As for boarder jumpers, I promise that none of them will come into my village without me reporting them.”
More than 200 traditional leaders have been trained and sensitized on the COVID-19 pandemic. The Zimbabwean government declared the COVID-19 crisis a “national disaster” on Friday, March 27 and since then, the country has recorded a total of 2,704 confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and 36 deaths, as of 29 July 2020.