A cross-border trader having her jab at Mwanza Border
By Brian Wasili, MANA
Cross-border traders are being encouraged to have themselves vaccinated against CoVID-19 in order to protect importation of the Coronavirus to and from their host countries.
The cross-border association (CBTA) held a CoVID-19 sensitization meeting in Mwanza on Wednesday to encourage its members and communities to be positive in the uptake of the vaccine.
The association’s president, Steve Yohane said the “traders conduct their businesses in different countries, whose movements can help transmit the virus but if they are protected through vaccines, it wouldn help stop its spread.
“We recognise that our movements across the borders for our various businesses contribute a lot to the development of our country’s economy such that there is need for us to comply with restrictions instituted at different borders due to CoVID-19 pandemic in order for them to be protected from the disease,” he said.
CBTA organised the sensitisation meeting in conjunction with Ministry of Health, Civil Society Network, Malawi Revenue Authority and Immigration Department with support from the Southern Africa Trust.
Mwanza District Hospital’s expanded programme on immunization coordinator, Pilirani Kanjoka said so far, about 12,000 people have been vaccinated against CoVID-19 — representing 16% of the 75,000 eligible beneficiaries in the district.
“We are optimistic that these figures will increase following this awareness campaign by the association,” Kanjoka said.
Mwanza District Council Trade Officer, Mervin Mkondiwa described the awareness campaign as crucial, saying being a border district, local communities are at risk of CoVID-19 due to constant travelers.
“It is important that the cross border traders should be vaccinated against the disease before they cross Mwanza Border. It should also be noted that this was necessary because availability and prices of commodities on the market have been drastically affected by the pandemic due to travel restrictions,” he said.
Despite all the awareness campaigns, coupled with support from international partners who have provided the country with free vaccines, the uptake is still very low at from last year when the exercise was launched, those who are fully vaccinated have not reached 1 million.
Wednesday’s CoVID-19 situation report indicated that just 825,931 are fully vaccinated with 1,138,673 having had a single jab while 524 have had the Booster Dose.
And in the past few months, there have been very rare numbers of imported cases just as there have been low new cases and few related deaths.
In the past 24 hours of Tuesday, the country registered eight new CoVID-19 cases, 286 new recoveries and zero deaths and all new cases were locally transmitted and all are from Blantyre.
Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 85,574 cases including 2,626 deaths at case fatality rate 3.07%.
Of the total cases since the outset in 2019, 2,830 are imported infections and 82,744 are locally transmitted while cumulatively, 78,108 cases have now recovered at the rate of 91.28% with 277 being lost to follow-up — bringing the total number of active cases to 4,563.
In the past 24 hours Wednesday, there were five new admissions and three new discharges from the treatment units. Currently, nine active cases are currently hospitalised — six in Blantyre and one each in Lilongwe, Mulanje and Mwanza.
The positive cases out of the total number tested (past 24 hours of Wednesday) translates to a positivity rate of 1.15% and the weekly positivity rate (seven days moving average) is at 1.4%.
Cumulatively, 558,538 tests have been conducted in the country so far.—Additional reporting by Duncan Mlanjira