Ex-miners and families resisting COVID-19 vaccine

Mike Van Kamande

The ex-miners Association of Malawi (EMAM) says many of its members and their households shun Covid-19 Pandemic vaccine because of high illiteracy and poverty among them.

Speaking at Phambala Headquarters in Ntcheu on Wednesday EMAM programme manager Richard Andrew said many ex-miners are old and poor with little or no knowledge about Covid-19 Pandemic.

“We are trying to mitigate the social economic impact of Covid-19 Pandemic among women in the Ex-miners communities in Ntcheu. With funding from the Southern Africa Trust we are implementing the project to disseminate awareness on the advantages of Covid-19 vaccine.

“This is all about ex-miners’ communities immune from effects of Covid-19 bearing in mind most of them are old with underlying ailments. We are also emphasizing on the dangers of gender-based violence (GBV) which causes social as well as psychological effects,” he said.

He said most ex-miners are suffering and sinking deep in poverty because the South African government has not remitted their pension money exacerbating helplessness and illiteracy among them.  

Phambala Zone ex-miners’ women chairperson Edna Chasweka said the project is helping enlighten people about Covid-19 vaccine and GBV.

“There are Indeed many misconceptions and myths among ex-miners because of the high poverty and illiteracy rate among them. The project is helping people to have mindset change about the vaccine and other social ills,” she said.

Phambala area development committee (ADC) chairperson Herbert Wandawanda said because of ignorance some ex-miners stop their families from accessing Covid-19 vaccine.

“This is simply GBV at its best because the vaccine is voluntary. Nobody should not be stopped from accessing the vaccine because that is violence,” he said.

EMAM is implementing the project with South African Rand 150000 in the whole district targeting about 1000 ex-miners and their beneficiaries out of over 4000 ex-miners in the district. Ntcheu has the largest concentration of ex-miners in Malawi.

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