Home Health The ‘rural-urban divide’ furthers Covid-19 myths – concealing effective preventive measures

The ‘rural-urban divide’ furthers Covid-19 myths – concealing effective preventive measures

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Thelma Wandayi

SHURUGWI: A dusty potholed road a few kilometers away from the picturesque town of Shurugwi leads to a little remote Mfiri village under Banga Chieftainship.

Farming has been their means of survival regardless of threats posed to their environment by illegal mining activities which are rife in the area.

Talking of threats, villagers say they have administered ‘home’ burials for kinsmen who die of Covid-19 in the city, but never get information of ailments that would have taken their dear lives leaving them in fear that they might be burying Covid-19 bodies unknowingly.

Covid-19 bodies deserve a proper and decent burial, that is a fact, but when villagers highlight that they have not known of Covid-19 testing since the subsequent lockdown nor have they received protective wear to administer funerals or any other important gatherings including the Chief’s court; villagers are left wondering whether the virus is selective in infecting based on locale.

“We have had no cases recorded in this area although our assumptions are based on interpretations from the Ministry of Health as we have not witnessed any testing being conducted here. We however continuously live-in fear as we have buried our fellow villagers dying from the pandemic while in the city with no protective wear,” said the chairperson of Banga Chieftainship, Alford Mfiri.

With such inconsistencies in place, local leadership says Covid-19 has remained a myth to villagers and as a result, they added that it has also been hard for them to educate and persuade these locals on adhering to preventive measures such as social distancing and wearing of masks.

“Awareness over preventive measures has been continuously done but with lack of resources such as protective wear and visible testing exercises, it is hard to convince people strongly as the virus remains a myth to them. Protective wear is so scarce that it has become a social class signifier for identifying the have and have nots.

“The pandemic has to this extent remained a myth in the village that Covid-19 attacks the rich and urbanites ,” added area councilor Richard Nkala.

To date, Zimbabwe has recorded 35, 423 cases 1 418 deaths and 31 615 recoveries.

Zimbabwe has started administering Covid-19 vaccines today and no plan has been set yet on how rural communities will benefit either.

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