COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic on 11th March 2020 by the World Health Organization (WHO). Most countries have responded to the call by WHO to ensure the prevention and control measures are implemented and adhered to. Owing to the disruptive nature of COVID-19, the Government of the Republic of Zambia has continued implementing mitigation and control measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
On Tuesday, 12th May 2020, the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development and the National Youth Development Council with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched a three (3) months community outreach programme. The outreach programme would involve the deployment of 2,500 youth volunteers to conduct community sensitization campaigns across the country.
During the Launch, Hon. Emmanuel Mulenga, MP and Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development underscored the COVID-19 Response Plan that Government through the Ministry of Health had devised. The plan called for concerted efforts from all partners towards scaling up the measures necessary to contain the spread of the Coronavirus. The Minister further indicated that it was for this reason that the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development with support from UNDP had joined the COVID-19 Response Plan which was being launched. He added that the response plan would be implemented with the participation of various stakeholders both state and non-state actors at all levels.
During the same Launch, the UNDP Resident Representative highlighted that it was the cry of the United Nations to leave no one behind. The UNDP Resident Representative further indicated that they had aligned their response to the COVID19 Multi-Sectoral Contingency and Response Plan and the call by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to ensure that the prevention and control measures are implemented and adhered to.
Therefore, to kick start the community sensitization, the campaigns would commence with 500 youth volunteers to sensitize communities in Lusaka, Kafue, and Chilanga Districts. Government through the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development targets to reach out to the following compounds in Lusaka District: Chaisa, Chainda, Chawama, Chibolya, Chipata, Chilulu, John Howard, Kanyama, Kamanga, Kuku, Kalikiliki, Kalingalinga, Kaunda Square Stage 1, Kuomboka, Ma Plot, Mandevu, Garden, Marapodi, Mazyopa, Mtendere, Misisi, Jack, John Laing, Ng’ombe and all compounds in Kafue and Chilanga Districts.
Other targeted Districts for this project include; Mpulungu, Nakonde, Vubwi, Katete, Chirundu, Siavonga, Kazungula, Livingstone, Sesheke, Shang’ombo, Kalabo, Kapiri Mposhi, Mwense, Nchelenge, Mwinilunga, Ndola, Mufulira and Chililabombwe. These Districts are either border Districts or transit points hence making them ‘high risk’ areas for COVID-19 transmissions and spread.
Consequently, it is envisaged that this programme will reach over 240,000 households in the aforementioned districts which will translate to the impact being felt by about a million individuals in these households.