Tawanda Musarurwa Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe’s public relations fraternity plays a critical role in the country’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa has said.
It is a global recognition that the fight against the highly infectious virus has as much been a fight against a misinformation pandemic, particularly the current phase of vaccinations.
A lot of vaccination hesitancy across the globe is a result of misinformation being disseminated through social media platforms in particular.
“By assessing how countries have reacted to this developing pandemic, the field of crisis communication enriches itself with new best practices. It is our contribution to the challenge of disseminating research that can support responses to this crisis and other that we will face in the future,” said Minister Mutsvangwa in a speech read on her behalf by Deputy Minister Kindness Paradza at an Institute of Public Relations and Communication Zimbabwe (IPRCZ) event last week.
“This is the reason the Government is encouraging research in a wide range of fields. As communications, you are encouraged to research more and more on the Covid-19 pandemic and international best practices in terms of managing the virus.”
Zimbabwe has received positive reviews for its management of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as its vaccination programme.
The country has recorded 39 496 cases to date and 1 626 deaths, while the national recovery rate stands at 94 percent.
And the vaccination programme is continuing countrywide with 1 089 506 people having been vaccinated against Covid-19 as of June 10. Over this period, a total of 532 people received the first dose yesterday while 4 991 people got the second jab.
Recently, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranked Zimbabwe as a low-risk destination for travellers.
The risk assessment level for Covid-19 was classified into five categories which are low, moderate, high, very high and unknown.
Fifty-six countries across the globe received the high rating and countries that were classified as low risk destinations included: Zimbabwe, China, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda and Iceland.
“I am proud to say that on the part of Government, we have received recognition and praise for the manner in which Zimbabwe has contained the pandemic, from the onset, to the rolling out of the voluntary and free mass vaccination programme.
“In this regard, the Second Republic counts on the partnership of the public relations and communication fraternity to consistently spread the news about practicing hygiene, sanitising, maintaining social distance, washing of hands and getting vaccinated,” said the Minister.
In a related matter, Zimbabwe is set to expand its Covid-19 Health Booths Project countrywide.
The Covid-19 information booths project aimed at increasing public awareness on the pandemic.
The project is a collaboration of the University of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe College of Pathology and private firm Bullion Healthcare Private Limited.
The project’s national project director Dr Martin Chitsama, told the same engagement that the project – which was successfully piloted in Epworth – will be extended to 660 booths across the country where Covid-19 prevalence has been noted.