Trust Khosa, Assistant News Editor
LOCAL celebrities and influencers are not doing enough to educate masses on the need to take Covid-19 vaccination seriously, an arts promoter, philanthropist and medical doctor has said.
With reports of the fourth wave in our midst, medical expert Dr Johannes Marisa said it was high time people stop joking about the pandemic.
He also challenged celebrities of Alick Macheso’s calibre to fully utilise their influence and encourage masses to take the Covid-19 for the nation to achieve herd immunity.
And he believes real influencers and celebrities must now preach the gospel of vaccination since the awareness part of Covid-19 has been over emphasised.
“I think there is something lacking, they need to actually upscale ther campaigns against Covid-19.
“We have noted that very few of them are actually advocating for vaccination,” he said.
Dr Marisa, who runs Westview Clinics and chairs the Medical and Dental Private Practitioners Association of Zimbabwe (MDPPAZ) as its president, noted there some influencers playing their part in this campaign.
“I’m so happy that at least for now we have people like Prophet Makandiwa going publicly and trying to encourage congregants to get vaccinated.
“We however expect more from musicians, we actually expect songs about vaccination, songs about Covid-19, songs about overserving Covid-19 regulations.
“So many artistes have actually gone into hiding , we see a very few of them being active; We urge them to be active on social media and various mass media platforms,” he said.
Dr Marisa singled out Macheso as one of the most influential figures who needed to be empowered and help in spread message on Covid-19 vaccination.
“People like Macheso for example when he talks about of Covid-19 he will find a lot of takers.
“We urge fellow artists to be quite vocal and we expect them to work with the people so that they know what is supposed to be done.
“We have to know that for us to win this war we ne need a lot of noise, we need a lot of advocacy, we need a lot pf knowledge,” he said.
He however said there was still ignorance about Covid-19 in most communities where campaigns needed to be stepped up.
“There is a lot of ignorance among the rural populace about Covid-19 despite the pandemic claiming lives.
“It is in this areas where people Macheso, Jah Prayzah and other top comedians and preachers need to step in since they will find a lot of takers.
“We need then to come out of their hiding, we need them to come come out of their hibernation and move into the fields and spread the message through various platforms, inclduiign their social media hands,” he said.
Added Dr Maraisa:
“Despite us calling for these influencers to help us in the campaign, mass media houses must continue reporting.
“We need a lot of radio and television programmes on daily basis where need medical practitioners will be required to remind people of the need to be vaccinated, the dangers of the Covid -19 and what needs to be done since this pandemic is deadly.
“Those who have survived Covid-19 must also step in and share with their relatives on their experiences so that they get information from some of the people they can relate to,” he said.
With the fourth wave coming, Dr Marisa also noted with concern that there are some people who still believe Covid-19 does not exist.
“Denialism is at this point in time is very dangerous; denialism is contributing lot to new deaths and infections at the moment.
“We have been dealing with issues of denialism, Covid-19 is for everyone and those affected should report early.
“The Delta variant need assisted isolation while consulting the medical practitioner is prerequisite.
“Findings have shown that this new variant is deadly and can affect one between 10 to 11 days so people must always seek treatment first to avoid hypoxia.
“In cases where people are taking other remedies, we don’t need to continue steaming, those that are dying its only because of delays.
“People who think have a lot of knowledge they get from social media and diaspora are the ones causing all sorts of these problem,” he said.
As front-line workers, Dr Marisa said their lives were at risk but they continue adhering to Covid-19 restrictions.
“As frontline workers, we always take the precautions, we have enough PPEs for our staff we do hand washing, we have 13 employees here at Westview Clinics and no one has suffered from Covid-19.
“However, we have lost three doctors in the last three weeks, we hope for the best for everyone.
“We will continue doing our best as medical practitioners but at the moment a collective effort is needed in raising awareness,” he said.