Encouraging community members to get vaccinated...
17 August 2021
Thabo has received his 1st vaccination dose and encourages people within his community to get vaccinated.
Lesotho began its first vaccination campaign in March 2021. The country has received 72 000 doses of AstraZeneca and 302 400 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine through the COVAX facility. The first phase of the national vaccine rollout provided the initial vaccine dose to over 40 000 health workers and people with comorbidities. In addition, over 32 000 people have received their second dose and have been fully vaccinated.
UNICEF has supported the government of Lesotho in obtaining and administering the vaccine, availability of cold chain storage to store the vaccines, and demand creation and risk communication activities to improve public perception and acceptance of the vaccine.
This is the story of Thabo Masia, a 53-year-old village health worker from Moshoeshoe II in Maseru. Thabo has received his 1st vaccination dose and encourages people within his community to get vaccinated.
“Our role is to give health services to people in the community. On the issue of COVID19, there has been a lot of misleading information that misguided people. Because people no longer attend public gatherings, we had to resort to a door-to-door outreach campaign where we approach people with chronic illness and encourage them to get vaccinated as well as providing them with the right information.”
He further explains that being a health worker entails more than just doing advocacy work but also assisting sick people and ensuring they take their medication.
“Patients in the village come to me because the health centers give us medication to dispense to patients and keep daily records. Some of our patients are HIV/AIDS patients. We also help them in the community to access their medication. Our job is also to make sure that infants get all their necessary injections from the time of birth.”
Finally, as a health care worker, he is delighted that the second batch of AstraZeneca vaccines arrived: “I am happy that the second dose of the vaccine has arrived because I am afraid of COVID19 because it is killing people in high numbers. So, I am happy that I got a chance to get vaccinated. That’s what helped us convince people to get vaccinated.”
In the coming months and years, UNICEF Lesotho will continue to support the government of Lesotho to vaccinate its citizens so that essential services continue to reach people who need them the most.