Machinga — Churches Action in Relief and Development (CARD) is providing psycho-social support to families affected by Covid-19 pandemic in Machinga through a K 15 million worth project called Accelerating Preventive measures to Covid-19 in the country.
In three months CARD will target people from Group Village Heads Mkhumbwa and Mangulu in Traditional Authority (TA) Nsanama through the new project which is responding to Covid -19.
Senior Project Officer for CARD in Machinga, Grant Mzembe said during a community engagement meeting on Tuesday that the project was aimed at improving the psycho-social well-being of families affected by Covid-19 pandemic in the district.
"We are training faith and religious leaders and Community Based Health Committee (CBHC) members in psycho-social support so that they should provide psychosocial healing to families with cases of Covid 19," he said.
Mzembe said the trained religious leaders would bring the message of hope to those families with cases of Covid-19 and prevent stigma to patients who have recovered from the pandemic.
The Project Officer added that the three months project would increase knowledge on the preventive measure through dissemination of Covid- 19 messages on radio and mobile van.
"Locally generated IEC materials will be produced in local languages and disseminated to people of the two areas apart from using community radio to air out programs of Covid 19," he said, adding that pproject is receiving funds from Act Alliance under Global Rapid Response funding.
Nsanama Area Development Committee (ADC) Chairperson, Henderson Aubi noted that people affected by the virus are stigmatized and discriminated, a behaviour he said poses danger to further spread of the pandemic.
"People who are coming from South Africa are sidelined by the community even though they have gone through screening processes," he said.
Aubi urged community leaders to report anyone coming from high risk countries such as South Africa to authorities.
"Let us give hope to those found positive because people are recovering from the disease," he said, adding that community needs to support them whenever they're fully recovered.
Aubi commended CARD for introducing the project to Nsanama area saying communities can only respond to Covid-19 only if they're provided with the right information.
Apart from Machinga, CARD is also implementing a similar project in Thyolo whilst Evangelical Lutheran Development is in Nkhotakota and Chikwawa districts.
As of July 29, 2020, Machinga had recorded 53 confirmed cases of corona virus out of which 16 were active cases.