By Davis Buyondo
Authorities in Lwengo and Rakai districts have said that the fast-spreading false information on different social media platforms, is hindering the Corona Virus Disease (Covid19) campaigns.
They explain that the persistent misinformation has made it more difficult to enforce the Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) issued by the Ministry of Health in combating the pandemic. Some information is politicised and misinterpreted while some are pure lies.
Joseph Lubega Bazonona, the newly elect Lwengo Town Council Chairperson, said that the misleading information about Covid19 has escalated complacency mostly among the youths.
He added that the majority of residents no longer wear face masks, wash hands or maintain social distance as it were during the Covid inception. Some say that they are immune after suffering covid19 some last year.
He said that there is information indicating that the Covid vaccine is meant to wipe away the black race which has scared the majority. Bazoonona explained that the false messages spread faster than their campaign messages about the pandemic.
“This rumour has spurred fear among the residents. However, we are struggling to convince them to get the vaccine and to observe SOPs. The biggest challenge that there is a lot of false information on different social media platforms which is hindering our campaign,” he said.
He further added that the majority have shunned the vaccination exercise which puts their lives in danger. Bazoonona attributed it to lack of enough community engagements by local leaders, religious and Members of parliament.
He further appealed to the local leaders and other stakeholders to sensitise residents about the importance of the Covid vaccination and observing SOPs.
“A few leaders have played their role and sensitized their communities about the dangers of shunning the Covid19 vaccination exercise as well as the deliberate refusal to observe the SOPs. But the majority including councilors, and area MPs have not engaged their residents as far as the pandemic is concerned” he noted.
According to Dr. Moses Kafumbe, the Lwengo District Health Officer, even when the rate of complacency is high, the infection rate in the district is not alarming.
He explained that they are persisting with the sensitisation programs to encourage community members to protect against Covid19 and its spread.
Kafumbe added that they advise people not to rely on the Covid19 vaccination as the only means of protection but to continue observing the soaps and improve their diet.
“Receiving the Covid vaccination is not going to stop us from observing the SOPs and other prevention measures. The vaccination is working hand-in-hand with other measures.”//
However, different public systems have been put in different trading centres in Lwengo, Kinoni, and Kyazanga town councils to debunk the misconception and false information about the covid19.
Rakai district is facing the same challenge as the majority are shunning the vaccination exercise amid the high rate of complacency.
The majority in Rakai town council, Kibanda, Kibaale, Lwamagwa, and other sub-counties are not observing the SOPs yet they shunned the Covid vaccination due to misinformation.
According to Dr. Moses Sakor, the Rakai DHO, they are trying to convince people to be vaccinated and to observe SOPs.
He explains that they have tried to lead by example in the ongoing vaccination campaign whereby several health workers have taken their jabs.
Sakor said that His Royal Highness -Apollo Ssansa Kabumbuli II, the Kamuswaga of Kooki, and his cabinet came out to take their jabs as a gesture that the vaccine had no problem with people’s health.
He added that another move was when President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, army, police, the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi and the Katikiro Charles Peter Mayiga took their jabs.
“But with continuous engagements, the people will understand and adhere to the SOPs and take part of the vaccination process,” he said.
However, Sakor said that lack of enough facilitation to reach different communities is still a big challenge. He explained that they are trying their best to lobby funding in order to sensitise communities about the Covid pandemic.
“We need to have enough fuel allowance for our staff to reach the communities but we find a challenge and we resort to using what we have,” he said.