Non-governmental organisations, Project Last Mile — a marketing and communications which is working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health with support from USAID — has expressed its delight on the number of people that are positively embracing getting the CoVID-19 vaccination in the country.
The organisation’s country representative, Jacque Geess made the remarks at Sakata Community Centre in Zomba during the closing day of the CoVID-19 vaccination campaign, whose main objective is to keep people safe by remaining protected from the risk of being attacked by the pandemic.
Gees said since the project was launched in April this year, and is being run concurrently in Zomba and Thyolo, people have been coming for vaccination after receiving messages on the importance of the exercise through the mainstream press and other digital media platforms.
She emphasized that even though the outbreak is currently minimized compared to the past two years, there is a need for people to get vaccinated so that when there is any incoming disease, the Malawian population should be protected.
And also that vulnerable members of the community should remain safe particularly open to severe consequences if they catch CoVID-19 so that the vulnerable populations which include the elderly, children and those with chronical conditions be on a safer side by not passing COVID-19 to them.
“We really appreciate on how people welcomed our messages because we had a positive turnout as we registered a lot of people within the short period — which was a good development although we have another big figure which is yet to vaccinate but it is our hope that we’ll reach out to them,” Geess said.
Traditional Authority (T/A) Nkagula of the area applauded Project Last Mile for bringing the vaccination campaign in his area, saying the program has helped people to get vaccinated and reduce the risk of catching CoVID-19.
To make sure people are flocking to the vaccination centre, Project Last Mile also organized a football and netball tournament and the project is expected to be concluded in June this month.
Meanwhile, Effective Monday, June 5, 2023 — as soon as revised CoVID-19 Rules & Regulations are duly gazetted — the Presidential Taskforce on CoVID-19 & Cholera has adjusted some travel requirements related to the pandemic that claimed many lives since its onset in 2020.
The revised travel requirements — as announced in a public statement from the Taskforce’s co-chairperson, Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda are:
1. A CoVID-19 vaccination certificate or a negative CoVID-19 PCR test result will no longer be a mandatory requirement for entry into Malawi for all incoming travellers; and
2. All outgoing travellers will be responsible for checking and complying with entry requirements in the countries of their destination and/or transit.
“These adjustments have been made in light of the current markedly decreased CoVID-19 situation in the country and globally; and recent announcement by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that the CoVID-19 pandemic is no longer a Public Emergency of International Concern.
“The public is, however, advised that CoVID-19 remains a public health threat and all countries, including Malawi, are expected to continue advocating for and applying necessary preventive and other control measures, such as CoVID-19 vaccination for high risk population groups.
“For this reason, CoVID-19 vaccinations will continue to be offered at health facilities across the country, and all those aged 12 years and above are encourage to get vaccinated at the earliest possible time to ensure that they are protected from developing severe disease and risk of hospitalization and death due to CoVID-19
“The Ministry of Health continues to monitor the CoVID-19 situation in the country and globally and reserves the right to re-institute appropriate CoVID-19 control measures such as in the event of new significant increases in CoVID-19 cases and deaths — and as disease situations and trends may dictate from time to time.”
Early last month, following a recommendation from WHO emergency committee for CoVID-19, Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus confirmed that the pandemic is no longer be categorized a public health emergency of international concern(PHEIC).
A statement from Gavi-the Vaccine Alliance said WHO declared the PHEIC when an emergency is “serious, sudden, unusual or unexpected”, with implications for health beyond the affected state’s national borders”.
The status helps trigger a set of measures and legally binding obligations that facilitate a coordinated international response and lack of PHEIC status does not mean CoVID-19 is no longer a pandemic.
The director general is quoted as saying this news does not mean CoVID-19 is “over as a global health threat,” saying several PHEICs have not been related to pandemics, and several sustained epidemics or “pandemics” have not been assigned PHEIC status.
The statement said the Emergency Committee has met every three months since the PHEIC was declared in early 2020 and that the lifting of official PHEIC status is a sign of the progress made in the past year — getting most countries to a solid baseline of coverage, including with support from COVAX which has focused efforts on lower-income countries.
Global coverage with a primary series (two doses) of CoVID-19 vaccine stands at 64% on average, and at 55% on average in the 92 lowest-income countries (compared to 28% at the beginning of 2022).