MANEPO launches COVID-19 Project for the elderly in Mangochi

MANEPO launches COVID-19 Project for the elderly in Mangochi
Ngwira of MANEPO says diginity and rights of the elderly need to be respected all the time including in times of disaster and pandemics, Pic Petro Mkandawire (Mana)

Malawi Network of Order Persons Organisation (MANEPO) has launched a project dubbed ‘Older Persons and COVID-19’ to create demand for COVID-19 vaccine among the elderly in Traditional Authority Chimwala in Mangochi District.

The project, which has been launched with support from the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), is part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

MENEPO Programmes Officer, Nitike Ngwira, said during the project launch recently that it was meant to ensure the protection of elderly men and women against many forms of rights abuses, apart from promoting safety and their dignity.

Ngwira added that MANEPO would engage the government and other development partners to include the elderly in the implementation of social protection programs.

According to Ngwira, MANEPO observed that the elderly are disproportionately vulnerable when disasters strike and that they receive little humanitarian assistance and attention.

Malawi Network of Order Persons Organisation
Ngwira: dignity and rights of the elderly need to be respected all the time including in times of disaster and pandemics, Pic Petro Mkandawire (Mana)

"Through the awareness that we are going to create, we want to ensure that gaps about COVID-19 vaccine are filled and that the elderly are vaccinated," said Ngwira.

She explained that her organization would implement the project to create demand for the COVID-19 vaccine among the elderly. Another objective was to support them with food and non-food items to improve their living standards.

“About 3,000 elderly men and women will be provided with materials like soap, sugar, soya pieces, cooking oil, and salt to improve their livelihoods,” she said.

MANEPO has been working in Malawi to promote the rights of the elderly in different thematic areas like abuse and discrimination and income security, according to Ngwira.

“We have been funded to the tune of US$ 70,000 which will be distributed to three countries namely: South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Malawi where we will implement the project in Mangochi and Zomba,” she said.

Mangochi District Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response Officer, Stanley Rashid said COVID-19 has affected the elderly and that MANEPO's intervention in the district is complementary to the district's COVID-19 response.

“The support is timely and it will address other areas of response where the health sector cannot manage to reach,” Rashid said.     

MANEPO, in collaboration with the district health office, intends to supply COVID-19 vaccines to the elderly.