Among the mountain ranges of Changara district in central Tete province, where around 3,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus, there are rumours about the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine.
According to the Ministry of Health (MISAU) data, a total of 16 people lost their lives to Covid-19 in Tete province, and 3,118 were reported as positive cases.
“One of the rumours being spread finds traction in the fact that it is said that vaccines are a conduit for the spread of the disease and not antidotes for immunising the population”, says Vicente Fulede, a community activist with the organisation Action for Social Development (ADS).
While some disseminate unscientific information about the Covid-19 vaccine, Fulede takes an opposite path, with the aim of at least disseminating information with scientific reliability.
“Because of this situation, some people from the communities flee when they see us owing to rumours that surround Covid-19″, Vicente says, adding that it is a huge challenge to convince the population that the activists’ intention is not to harm the communities but help them.
According to the activist, this is not the first time that health professionals have dealt with rumours, as voices are always raised in communities to discredit the information disseminated by the competent authorities in the area.
I INTERVIEW CHRONICALLY ILL PATIENTS IN COMMUNITIES AND CONFRONT HEALTH UNITS LEADERSHIP AS A MEANS TO FOSTER THE IMPROVEMENT OF SERVICES PROVIDED”, SAYS COMMUNITY ACTIVIST VICENTE FULEDE
“This is not a new scenario”, says Fulede, who has been working as an activist for just over three years – carrying out activities related to first aid in the communities – a fact that fills him with pride, for contributing to the well-being of people.
In order to exercise community activism, it is necessary to have a strong heart and a strong capacity to face barriers of different origins. The activist – whether hot, rainy or cold – leaves his comfort zone to provide assistance to needy patients.
Even though there are huge barriers and difficulties, Fulede says that he loves to carry out this activity because through it “I can help my family and the community to deal with first aid in the area of health, understanding many things.”
Undeterred by the long distances he has to travel to carry out his activity, Fulede goes every day to the health unit or goes to meet the sick in the communities in the hinterland of Changara district, more specifically in the locality of Dzunga.
In the communities, the activist has been carrying out work to raise awareness against chronic diseases, namely HIV, tuberculosis and, currently, against Covid-19.
“Our work is aimed at preventing and combating Covid-19, as well as advising and encouraging those suffering from HIV to continue with treatment”, says Fulede.
In addition to sensitizing people about the occurrence of various illnesses, Fulede has been interviewing people, as well as monitoring the services provided at the health units, in order to find out whether chronic patients are properly cared for.
“I also interview the chronically ill in the communities and confront those responsible for the health units, as a way of fostering the improvement of the quality of the services provided”, adds the activist.
At the moment, Vicente Fulede is an active activist in two initiatives in the health area, namely, in the Project Sou Cidadão, in the monitoring of health services through community dialogues and in the documentation of institutional barriers imposed by the Covid-19 situation that affect the provision of quality health services for the chronically ill – a program driven by the Observatório do Cidadão para Saúde (OCS), in partnership with community health activists who collaborate with various community-based organisations across the country.