After the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the DREAM centre in Blantyre, Malawi, also began administering covid19 vaccines, thus inaugurating a new vaccination hub in Africa.
In Malawi, the percentage of the population vaccinated is 3%, the first doses arrived in spring 2021, but ran out early. Only a month ago the country received a donation from some EU and US countries of 395,000 doses from AstraZeneca and Janssen.
The country is only now recovering from its third wave that saw 61,800 infected and 3,000 dead and a long lock-down of almost three months that had a devastating economic impact on the population, worsening the already widespread poverty due to chronic lack of food and employment.
Sant’Egidio has been deeply rooted in the country for almost 20 years, and through the DREAM Programme and its health structures spread throughout the territory, it has been engaged since the beginning of the pandemic in the fight against COVID, providing masks, sanitation products and above all implementing a major awareness campaign on the social distancing measures to be taken.
In particular, the DREAM Elard Alumando centre in Blantyre, which over the years has distinguished itself as an avant-garde structure, especially for its excellent molecular biology laboratory, has made its work available to the Ministry of Health of the country, which lacks structures of this type, to carry out molecular tests for the diagnosis of Covid in a large part of the country.
Thanks to the relationship of trust and esteem built with the Government of Malawi and the Ministry of Health, last week DREAM also received the first stock of vaccines to be administered, and soon the news spread and many patients, family members and friends came to the Elard Alumando centre to ask to do so.
For the DREAM programme, the possibility of vaccinating is a great opportunity, not only to save lives but also to commit to raising awareness among the population and trying to clear the field of prejudices and fake news that are an obstacle to vaccination.
The commitment of DREAM for the near future is also the challenge to extend the vaccination hubs to more remote places, to overcome the many logistical difficulties linked to an extremely rural area, to make up for the lack of adequate infrastructure, to counteract the mistrust of the population in getting vaccinated.
Sant’Egidio is committed not only to Malawi, but also to the whole of Africa, and appeals to the generosity of the international community to ensure that enough Covid 19 vaccines are available in all countries.