Community members from Gokwe have called on government and other Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to capacitate Village Health Workers (VHWS) with trainings and information on COVID 19 that can help local communities fight the pandemic. This came out during a virtual dialogue organised by communities working with Heal Zimbabwe in Gokwe district on 25 January 2021.
Heal Zimbabwe Trust
The dialogue meeting is part of efforts meant to scale up community resilience and share local level strategies that can help communities fight COVID 19. Community members highlighted that there was generally lack of awareness and information on COVID 19 and this made it difficult for local communities to fight COVID 19. “There is generally lack of information on COVID 19 especially in areas where there is poor radio reception. We have seen people even attending funerals without face masks. So far in our village, two people succumbed to COVID 19 but this has not led to attitude change but people continue to gather in numbers, not observing social distance and not even wearing of face masks,” said one participant. A VHW who was part of the dialogue meeting highlighted that she has only learnt about training of fellow health workers from other districts in the newspaper but in Gokwe she has not seen similar trainings. “VHWs play an important role as they help deliver health services to local communities by conducting health promotion services. During the COVID-19 pandemic we can partner other stakeholders through their support to continue interfacing with communities, disseminating messages that can help prevent the spread of COVID 19. Our wish is that though our area is remote, government and other stakeholders must prioritise reaching out to us with trainings and awareness meetings so that we also reach out to our people,” she said.
As part of resolutions, the dialogue meeting resolved that there was need to engage local health personnel on the need for them to partner VHWs in disseminating key information on COVID 19 to communities. The dialogue meeting also resolved that the fight against COVID 19 is the responsibility of every community member hence the need to also raise awareness on COVID 19 preventative measures at all times. The virtual dialogues by Heal Zimbabwe are an initiative meant to create platforms for communities to discuss and collectively identify ways through which they can proffer solutions to problems in their communities. The virtual platforms also equip communities with relevant information on Covid 19, GBV and human rights. Virtual platforms are also platforms that facilitate local level conversations on pertinent issues affecting communities as well as create socially cohesive communities.