Rural communities need adequate education on Covid-19

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By Perseverance Javangwe

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the world tremendously and over the past few months, people all over the world have come to realize just how serious and deadly the current COVID-19 pandemic actually is. Studies have shown that the pandemic could linger more in poorer communities.

What is worrying to Amai Bhukuvani, a community volunteer in one of the rural communities of Zimbabwe is that there is lack of education there pertaining the pandemic. Speaking during a discussion panel for the COVID-19 Social Chat, Amai Bhukuvani said there is need for Social Workers to educate rural communities on COVID-19 and the importance of social distance.

“Information about COVID-19 is still lacking here in the rural communities. Most people have heard about the pandemic but since it hasn’t affected them, they still don’t see the reason to observe the measures to prevent it.

“From the ground level, social workers should arrange ways to help educate people in the rural communities, they can initiate awareness campaigns. There is need for education on COVID-19 to reach our places so that many people become aware of the need to observe the measures that help prevent the disease. Many people here visit each other at homes greeting and hugging each other, not even aware of the dangers of direct contact,” said Amai Bhukuvani.

Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education…for all.” Education is key to make sure that communities understand how the disease spreads, and therefore there is need for prioritisation of education in rural communities.

Social distancing is important because it limits social contact with other people to prevent the spread of illness. Many states have already implemented social distancing on a larger level, by closing schools, closing non-essential businesses and prohibiting large gatherings and events. However, according to Amai Bhukuvani social distance is not well known in her rural community.

“There is no social distance here in the rural communities. When people go to fetch water from boreholes they don’t observe social distance. Even when someone tells them about the dangers of not observing social distance they are still ignorant about it. They believe that COVID-19 is still affecting the urban areas and not the rural communities.

“Self-isolation in case one has contracted COVID-19 is not known here. Even if the headman advice people to stop gatherings and practice social distance some opt to disobey largely because they do not understand anything about COVID-19. If a person arrives here in our community having contracted the disease it can easily affect us because education on COVID-19 has not been fully dispatched here,” she said.

There is need to do more in educating rural communities on the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent the spread of the disease. There by observing SDG #3 which aspires to ensure health and well-being for all.

As of 15 February Zimbabwe has recorded 1410deaths, 35222cases and 30759recoveries

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