Since Zambia recorded its first Covid-19 on March 18th 2020, the number of cases and deaths have increased. The total cumulative number of confirmed Covid-19 cases stands at 3,326, 1,620 recoveries and 128 deaths. Even as Zambia records a good number of recoveries, we as YWA have not relaxed but remained vigilant in raising awareness on the Coronavirus pandemic amongst our various stakeholders especially our beneficiaries to practice all of the World Health Organisation and Ministry of Health guidelines of Masking up, regularly washing hands, social distancing and staying at home where possible.
Definitely the consequences on the poor are devastating- businesses across the country have since deteriorated and in societies where the virus hits, it is deepening the consequences of inequality, pushing many of the burdens onto the losers of today’s polarized economies and labor markets. Unfortunately, those in lower economic strata are likelier to catch the disease and will also likelier to die from it. Further, we have also noticed the wealthy such as Members of Parliament dying from Covid-19.
As civil society, we need to ask what could be our contribution to help contain the spread of this virus; but more importantly, find out how we can cushion the consequences of these new regulations on those underprivileged. Beside weaker health systems across Africa, the main basic protective measures recommended by experts is washing hands frequently and have proper sanitation. However, Sub-Saharan Africa is faced with poor sanitation facilities and the proliferation of informal economy and urban crowding which definitely pose additional challenges in the efforts to combat the highly infectious disease.
Zeroing in on Zambia, the unemployment rates and poverty are yet another factor that has hindered most families from being safe of Covid-19. It is with this background that YWA recognizes that due to the high poverty and unemployment rates in Zambia, not every household in our communities can afford face masks, tablets of soap and hand sanitizers to protect themselves from Covid-19.
YWA with support from HIVOS People Unlimited under the Women Empowered For Leadership project (WE4L), dedicated some of the resources to furnish the vulnerable households in society especially those headed by females and the aged with some tablets soap and hand sanitizers. A total of 1000 households benefited from these donations. Not only that, Young Women in Action has further conducted awareness raising on Covid-19 in Mazabuka and Lusaka districts with aid of mobile vehicles. A taskforce of more than 60 YWA youth champions and young women aspiring candidates are leading in these Covid-19 interventions.
In order to ensure that NO ONE IS LEFT BEHIND even during the Covid-19 pandemic, YWA also rolled out a radio program to reach even those that could not be physically reached outside of YWA catchment areas to raise more awareness on the Coronavirus.
Further, with support from OSISA, YWA is scaling up on the reach to three more districts. YWA will also ensure that even the physically challenged persons such as the blind access Covid-19 information using braille.