Coronavirus (196) Increased funding is needed for information and communication efforts (2) Malawi Network of Community Health Workers

23 March, 2020

[in response to: http://www.hifa.org/dgroups-rss/coronavirus-184-increased-funding-needed... ]

I totally agree on this! We need Solidarity beyond information sharing on Coronavirus! We need funding too. I wrote this piece and I am sharing it here because it is in line with what HIFA has communicated here.

My name is Wilson Damien Asibu from Malawi, Southern Africa and I am working with the Malawi Network of Community Health Workers and as Chairperson of Access to Medicine in the Peoples Health Movement (www.phmovement.org) and I participated in the February 2020 Executive Board Meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva (www.who-track.phmovement.org/eb146). I am also a Participatory Action Researcher (PAR) in the Regional Network for Equity in Health in eastern and southern Africa (EQUINET)(www.equinetafrica.org)

In the face of Coronavirus we have no resources as Malawi Network of Community Health Workers to reachout to communities especially rural areas of Malawi. Ours is a poor country that even many can not afford a radio, a newspaper and internet is out of question in most rural areas where 84% of the population resides, and getting right information about coronavirus is very problematic.

Government resources and information about coronavirus is concentrated in urban and semi-urban population and communities, who in some cases are better-off and some are connected to internet, social media and other media platforms such as radios and Television.

At the moment most of our neighboring countries have confirmed cases of COVID-19 and we have some very porous borders some of which have not even border posts or security officials manning these borders. They freely and easily pass through and this can easily spread the coronavirus.

Health facilities in Malawi is a big problem not to mention availability of health personnel.

Community Health Workers can address this gap if they can find the much-needed resources and financial support to reach out to these rural communities with this vital information especially on prevention. Unfortunately what we are just getting is just information on how people can prevent and nothing on financial and material support for health informants and health personnel to use to reach the hard-to-reach communities of poor communities from poor countries such as Malawi.

We hear of hand washing with soap as a preventive measure and yet here we have people that can not afford hand washing soap (and some no water close by) and we hear noone speaking of how they can assist poor people that cannot afford soap, water and sanitation like in some rural parts of Malawi and Africa with even handwashing soap or water! Sad!

In Malawi and most African countries their governments have already shut down some operations that will drastically affect the economy of their countries and the people at large but as western countries will be paying their people and cushioning their businesses, there will be no such thing here in Africa and Malawi and the economic consequences will be catastrophic.

Can we in the spirit of solidarity get word out that information alone on prevention without financial and material support is not enough! We too community health workers need your financial and material support to be able to reach the hard-to-reach rural populations. As little as $500, $1000, $5000 can save millions of lives from massive death and subsequent economic upheavals that could potentially paralyze nations.

As Malawi Network of Community Health Workers we need and request financial and material support right now to get this message to rural populations in Malawi before it's too late! Please help us now! We have received videos, audios, pamphlets, documents, leaflets, weblinks, etc on Coronavirus but we need funds to get the messages you are giving us to reach accross to hard-to-reach rural communities.

We can even appreciate material support such as protective masks and other protective gears, medication, bicycles/motorcycles, handwashing soap, money, etc.

We can be reached on +265(0)994211698 or +265(0)991772898 or +265(0)884865482 (also on whatsap)

Bank transfers can be sent to:

Acc Name: THE MARKETPLACE INTERNATIONAL

Acc Number: 1004976278

Branch: South-End, Lilongwe

Bank: National Bank of Malawi

Swift Code: NBMAMWMW

OR

Acc Name: Wilson Damien Asibu

Acc Number: 1006224675

Branch: South-End, Lilongwe

Bank: National Bank of Malawi

Swift Code: NBMAMWMW

Details to send through Western Union can be sent upon request.

Malawi Network of Community Health Workers is a network of over 5,000 community health workers in Malawi and members are spread across the country and reaches the remotest parts of Malawi.

Thank you for your attention!

HIFA profile: Wilson Damien Asibu is the Executive Director for Country Minders for Peoples Development (CMPD) a local Non Governmental Organization in Malawi, also working with the Regional Network for Equity in Health in eastern and southern Africa (EQUINET) and a member of Health Systems Global. We have worked on Participatory Action Research (PAR) in the health systems for quite a number of years, some of which you can get through EQUINET website: www.equinetafrica.org. We have been working on Community Health for over 10 years and currently we have just established the Malawi Network of Community Health Workers, have had our annual workshop last December and came up with a Roadmap for 2020-2023 supported by Accountability Research Centre of the American University. wilasibu AT gmail.com