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[e-drug] Information about Covid-19 vaccination campaign in South Africa requested (2)

E-DRUG: Information about Covid-19 vaccination campaign in South Africa 
requested (2)
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Hi Nhomsai

Every possible medium is being used to reach the general public in South 
Africa, with radio, TV and print media probably having the widest reach, but a 
lot of people also relying on newsfeeds via their phones, such as News24 
(https://www.news24.com/). 

Other important online media sites are Bhekisisa (https://bhekisisa.org/), 
Spotlight (https://www.spotlightnsp.co.za/), GroundUp 
(https://www.groundup.org.za/), Health-E (https://www.health-e.org.za/) and the 
Daily Maverick (https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/). 

All national print media also has an online presence (for example 
https://www.businesslive.co.za/; https://www.iol.co.za/; 
http://www.timeslive.co.za/). 

In addition to the sacaronavirus.co.za site, which has daily updates, there is 
also the National Institute for Communicable Diseases web site 
(https://www.nicd.ac.za/) and the provincial department of health web sites. 

The major challenge is reaching the rural elderly with poorer access to 
electronic media, and there a variety of methods are being used - here's an 
excerpt from a Spotlight story 
(https://www.spotlightnsp.co.za/2021/05/19/covid-19-vaccinations-paused-in-mangaung-due-to-protests/):

"We went into different communities. We did loud hailing, we visited old age 
homes accompanied by our stakeholders, we worked with various ward councillors 
for street ward committee participation, we also sent out our community health 
care workers for door to door visits and we have been making educational 
announcements on local community radio stations across the province," he said. 
"We also went to different schools to ask young people to help their 
grandparents and other older people that they know in their local communities 
to register for vaccination."

The National Department of Health has launched a free SMS registration system 
*134*832# and a free WhatsApp line 0600123456 - both of which requires no data.

"We are also making a call as the department to technology-savvy citizens to 
assist the elderly to register for vaccination. If you know older people in 
your community and where you come from, we ask that you may please help them to 
register, as you are able to register as many over 60-year-old people as 
possible on your phone", said Mvambi.

Civil society helping out
Various civil society organisations have been helping people to register.

Provincial manager at The South-African Red Cross Society Red in Free State 
Claudia Mangwegape says they have partnered with the Department of Health and 
Department of Social Development to encourage old people to register for 
vaccination. "We met with our luncheon clubs at different old age homes across 
the province to encourage the elderly to register for vaccination," she said. 
"We have an agreement with both these departments and through this partnership, 
we are aiming to increase the number of EVDS registration. This is how we as an 
organisation are taking it upon ourselves to fight the spread of the virus."

"We have been to old age homes such as Boikhucho and the Buyswater retirement 
village in Bloemfontein where we were able to help the residents to register," 
she said. "When doing outreach programmes in some informal settlements where 
the internet is a problem, we were impressed as some of the old people had 
already been registered through the help of their grandchildren."

Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) Provincial Manager, Mpho Matobako says they 
have also taken it upon themselves to lend a helping hand with registration. 
"Upon receiving training, we encouraged our members to go into communities to 
assist and educate the elderly especially those in poor communities about the 
COVID-19 vaccine," Matobako said."

Regards
Andy

Andy Gray BPharm MSc(Pharm) FPS FFIP
Senior Lecturer
Division of Pharmacology
Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences
School of Health Sciences
University of KwaZulu-Natal 
 South Africa
WHO Collaborating Centre on Pharmaceutical Policy and Evidence Based Practice
graya1@ukzn.ac.za or andy@gray.za.net
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