GOOD governance activist Brebner Changala has advised President Edgar Lungu to lead in sensitizing people over the country’s Coronavirus vaccination programme.
In February this year, the World Health Organisation allocated Zambia 1.4 million doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines under the COVAX Facility.
And the first batch of 228,000 doses arrived in the country on April 12.
But Changala is bemoaning the poor turnout for the programme which started on April 13.
He said in other countries it is the heads of state who spearhead the process.
“My concern is on COVID-19 vaccination. It is not receiving the attention that it is supposed to receive, knowing very well this pandemic is lethal. The publicity is not there; it’s weak,” he said after getting vaccinated. “But what has happened is that our President has literally walked away from this vaccine; he doesn’t talk about it. And he has surrendered everything to the Minister of Health who is doing everything within his capabilities and within his mandate and portfolio as minister and head of the Ministry of Health. I must give him kudos. He’s working very hard. He’s inspiring to the young generation.”
Changala said Dr Chanda has so far performed better than President Lungu on sensitisation.
“And definitely he has done a lot for this Covid vaccine. He has promoted it and we must say thank you to Honourable Jonas Chanda. But to the Head of State, he’s a very disappointing leader. Covid is now like war, and it needs a leader to lead his own people to defeat an enemy,” he said.
“And we needed President Edgar Lungu; not only shouting pa maka, pa maka and developmental projects which is becoming monotonous and totally unacceptable, and yet allowing hunger to take charge in the administration of our affairs. The more reasonable heads of state and presidents around the world they are the people receiving the vaccine at the airport; at the apron of the airport. They give it the VIP reception. And in decent countries it’s the Head of State who’s being first inoculated, being vaccinated to inspire the nation, to inspire the recipients; the people.”
Changala explained his experience at the hospital, describing what he termed myths associated with the vaccination programme.
He narrated that “I was the only one that time; I know other people should have passed through there, there’s no congestion”.
“Speaking to the staff they are saying people, the myth about this, especially where they watch on TV and what have you. So, it’s incumbent upon the government to sensitise the people and assure them that this vaccination is safe and it’s for their own good. It’s there to protect themselves, their families and later on the country,” Changala said.
He offered to be a flagbearer in sensitising the people on the importance of vaccination.
“And I want to put it to the people that I, Brebner Changala, I have offered myself to be a flagbearer to inspire my generation and the young generation that they must go forward and get vaccinated, protect themselves, put on the mask,” said Changala. “Let them not lose guard of the mask, keep social distancing. And let’s defeat this pandemic as a collective nation, united to face an enemy.”