Women step up and fill the Burkina Faso antivirus gap | Lifestyle

SAMMEDNIC KAP communication

Kaya, Burkina Faso (AP) — Mariama Sawadgo sits in a small studio, translating notes from French to the local Moorish, writing down the points in the margin. Infection, Prevention, Vaccination — Sawadogo covers these topics on Zama FM’s bi-monthly radio show, interviewing doctors and nurses about COVID-19 and testing the caller’s knowledge.

Many Burkina Faso guests and listeners call her an “aunt” because she gently guides her answers and awards prizes such as washing soaps and buckets.

The voice of Sawado became familiar to her town Kaya and nearly a million people beyond, northeast of the capital of this West African country, which many feel disappointed by the government. I am. Mothers who are anxious for information about the virus are gathering outside to listen to the Sawadgo show while sharing a rare cell phone while their children are playing nearby.

Despite a $ 200 million budget for virus response efforts, tests, vaccines, and public messages often miss many of the country’s 20 million inhabitants. In areas where women are responsible for the relationship between family work and the community, women provide a collective and authoritative voice to find ways to make and deliver supplies and help families through the economic crisis. I stepped up.

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This story is part of a year-long series on how pandemics are affecting women in Africa, the most serious least developed country. The AP series is funded by the European Development Journalism Grant Program at the European Journalism Center, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. AP is responsible for all content.

“They didn’t help us,” Mamounata Ouedraogo said of the officials. “If we expected to get our information from them, we would never have anything.”

Ouedraogo and Sawadogo live in Kaya. A country suffering from conflictTens of thousands of refugees have sought shelter as violence spilled from it. Mali next door Escalate in 2015. Ouedraogo said he listened to all of Sawadogo’s shows and knows little about the virus without them.

Diseases like malaria are a higher priority, and beyond illness, jihad is the number one threat, said Norbert Ramde, head of the Burkina Faso Medical Association.

“Would you like to use all your resources to fight COVID-19 and forget about this?” He said. “We also need to invest in it.”

Burkina Faso was hit hard when the pandemic broke out last March. Some of the highest infection numbers in Africa And mortality. Authorities enforced a curfew, blocked landlocked borders, and closed mosques, churches, schools, and markets. Residents protested. After a few weeks, most restrictions were lifted.

Dr. Bryce Vikaba, a government epidemiologist who leads Burkina Faso’s response to the coronavirus, said:

According to Vikaba and budget documents, some of the millions for virus response were directed to leaflets, radio and television messaging, and other means of community involvement. However, many medical professionals and citizens have said that they do not reach all those who need effort. In Kaya, locals said they prefer door-to-door visits to one public meeting in December. Also, the message is not always translated into the local language. Most people do not speak the official language, French, on a regular basis.

Even in the capital, Ouagadougou, 60 miles (85 km) from Kaya, the message is not widespread and there are few COVID-19 signs or signs.

So Zenabou Coulibaly Zongo uses his money to make soaps and buy hand sanitizers for mosques, markets and health centers. At the start of the pandemic, Zongo, now 63, was hospitalized for bronchopneumonia. She saw others die and paid for oxygen treatment at a private clinic.

“It was a call to wake up. I imagined the coronavirus spreading as it happened in Europe,” she said.

Currently, Zongo delivers soap and teaches people about COVID-19. Some people recently told her at the mosque that she didn’t know that the vaccine was free until she provided the information.

Many inside and outside Burkina Faso do not rely on government-provided viral data (15,514 cases and 265 deaths).

In a chaotic atmosphere — Army struggle To stop the ultimatum from violence and opposition to the president — false information flourished. The existence of Sawadogo’s radio is the main voice to fight it. She hears from listeners that pandemics were created to mislead blacks and vaccines will kill them.

However, the mothers of the three boys are accustomed to denialists and skeptics. In 2007, she left her first husband, despite her cultural aversion to divorce. She went to school at night and became an accountant.

Her internship was in Radio Zama. After she recorded some ads, her boss felt the presence of a strong radio. In 2016, she started hosting the show. She was a natural choice when the station got European Union funding for the virus show.

“You are in Zama FM. How are you?” Sawado greets the caller. She talks to listeners like guests and family.

“People would call me personally and say,’Our family didn’t believe in illness, but they heard, so now they do,'” says Michigo Sawa. Told.

Burkina Faso is also struggling with vaccination. Despite being part of COVAX, a UN-supported program that provides shots to developing countries, this country was one of the last countries to receive shots in the world. By the end of October, approximately 284,000 people (less than 1.5% of the population) had been fully vaccinated, according to World Health Organization statistics.

Vaccine hesitation is so deep that even radio host Michigo Sawa has not yet received a jab. She is worried about the link between female shots and rare blood clots. Fumbling for the AstraZeneca vaccine in Europe..

Soap maker Zongo has also not been vaccinated and claims to be the first to finish the drug in a recent accident.Both women are part of Gender Gap What experts fear is that African women are the least vaccinated population in the world.

However, Zongo and Sawadgo say they will eventually be vaccinated and continue to spread the message about COVID-19 and defend women.

“I consider her a phoenix, whether it’s European, American, South American, or any female,” Zongo said. You can always recover, like a phoenix rising from the ashes. “

Copyright 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

Women step up and fill the Burkina Faso antivirus gap | Lifestyle

Source link Women step up and fill the Burkina Faso antivirus gap | Lifestyle

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