Region Eight strengthening efforts to fight COVID-19

Regional Health Officer (RHO), of Region Eight, Dr. Ravindra Dudhnauth said systems are being put in place to boost the COVID-19 immunisation campaign in the region.

The RHO met with Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall on Saturday.

According to the RHO, the poor vaccination response in the region is due to the religious practices of some residents in  central Mahdia, Campbelltown and other communities. He said less than 40 per cent of the adult population in central Mahdia is inoculated.

Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall

He said the region sought the support of relevant stakeholders to enlighten residents on the importance of the vaccine.

“A couple of weeks back, we would have met with all the local pastors along with the British High Commission who paid us a visit to help sensitise persons about the vaccine. It seems somewhat a bit futile, because we still have a lot of resistance from the churches, mainly in central Campbelltown,” the RHO stated

He said within three weeks, the number of positive cases in the region jumped from 384 to 502. The RHO said this is a clear indication that residents are not only refusing vaccination, but are also disobeying the gazetted orders.

Regional Health Officer (RHO), of Region Eight, Dr. Ravindra Dudhnauth

Meanwhile, Dr. Dudhnauth said there is an uptake in the vaccination rate among adolescents in the region. 

The RHO told DPI that, “in village of Kopinang and its catchment area such as Sand Hill, Waipa and others, we have 80 per cent of those villages vaccinated. Whereas in Kato, the region would have had 90 per cent of the children vaccinated.”

As such, he urged members of the business community to collaborate with the health department to help the region achieve herd immunity. He said the approach will include sensitisation campaigns and mobile vaccination exercises, among others.

The region’s Divisional Commander, Michael Kingston agreed that residents’ disinterest in the pandemic is appalling.

“It doesn’t give us joy to arrest persons especially those who are not adhering to Covid guidelines especially in businesses where the gazetted order is displayed. We, as adults need to understand the importance about getting vaccinated and so we need to be responsible,” he said.

Minister Dharamlall commended the officials for their efforts in the fight against the deadly disease.

He said, however, that more needs to done and encouraged unvaccinated public servants including teachers to join the fight.

“We as government officials need to set a example to the public and while the government has no intention to force persons to get vaccinated, it is the responsibility of everyone within the public sector to do so,” he stated.

The minister requested a list of unvaccinated teachers be crafted for further deliberations on the way forward.

Recently, Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, MP said the region’s response to the immunisation campaign has placed them at second-to- last in the country.

Since confirming its first positive case in August 2020, the region had established various testing sites at its entry points.

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