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FOCUS 1000, Kombra Network Plan for COVID Vaccination Exercise

HomeNewsBreaking NewsFOCUS 1000, Kombra Network Plan for COVID Vaccination Exercise

FOCUS 1000, Kombra Network Plan for COVID Vaccination Exercise

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The NGO FOCUS 1000 and its partner the Kombra Network on Friday held a one-day planning session for an upcoming mass vaccination exercise against the Covid-19 virus.

The vaccination exercise, according to officials, is part of efforts to increase the uptake of Covid-19 jabs in the country where official figures show that only about 2 percent of the population has been inoculated against the viral pandemic.

This upcoming campaign is collaboration between FOCUS 1000, the African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, with the support of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa-CDC).

Seventy people, representing Kombra Network executives from all 16 districts of the country and district representatives of FOCUS 1000, converged in Bo city to plan for the exercise which has been designed to last for one month and with the goal of vaccinating at least 80, 000 people.

A total of 100 sites have been earmarked for deployment of vaccination teams, which will include both stationary and mobile teams moving from location to location with the aim of bringing the vaccine to the people.

Dr Abu Pratt, Programmes Manager of FOCUS 1000, welcomed the participants at the event and gave them an overview of the programme. Dr Pratt spoke about the growth of the Kombra Network and the need to sustain this growth through the dedication and hard work of its members who work voluntarily.

According to Dr Pratt, a major objective of Friday’s meeting was to establish a relationship between Covid-19 and exclusive breastfeeding, which constitute an important component of the areas of operation of FOCUS 1000, which is promotion of the wellbeing of children under five years.

Speaking at the event,Sheikh Abubakar Conteh, Board Chairperson of FOCUS 1000, hailed the collaboration among the various partners with the goal of saving lives. He emphasized on the importance of the initiative using interpretation of religious teachings, stressing that the involvement of religious leaders was especially crucial given the role religion has played in promoting denial and resistance to the Covid-19 vaccine.

“Resistance to the vaccine is high among Muslims in particular,” he said, stressing the role Imams can play in changing that situation for the good.

Nonetheless, Sheikh Conteh believes that it should be easy for the campaign to reach its target using religious leaders.

“The Kombra Network has all it takes to do this,” he said.

The Kombra Network is a coalition of various grassroots organizations that entails religious leaders, market women, civil society, traditional healers and the media. The religious component comprises the Christian Action Group (CHRISTAG) and Islamic Action Group (ISLAG), which involves Pastors and Imams, respectively, who use Biblical and Quranic teachings to promote recommended health seeking behaviours, in line with the thematic operations of FOCUS 1000.

According to Sheikh Conteh, the network members should live by example by ensuring that they are vaccinated, themselves, first.

DrRamdanJalloh, the National Chairman of the Kombra Network and head of ISLAG and Rev. Christiana Sutton Koroma, the head of CHRISTAG, each made presentations on the role of religious leaders in the fight against Covid-19, with specific focus on the promotion of acceptance of the vaccine.

The agreement between FOCUS 1000 and the MoHS entails that the ministry will provide all the technical components of the exercise, including the provision of 200 nurses who will administer the vaccines, while the Kombra Network will serve as social mobilizers and provide monitoring.

Out of the 100 centers nationwide, 84 will be fix centers while the other 16 teams will be moving from location to location in search of people to vaccinate.

The specific roles of the Kombra Network are awareness raising, mobilization of community people and joint monitoring to ensure the effective operation of the vaccination process.

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