#CoronaVirusSA: ‘Government has a plan for townships and rural areas’

#CoronaVirusSA: ‘Government has a plan for townships and rural areas’Rural areas and Townships a top priority in SACovid19 prevention strategies: File photo

With the growing number of people with Covid-19 in the country, the National Department of Health says their top priorities are underprivileged communities and rural areas.

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“We are concerned about the communities, the poor, the working class in the townships, informal settlements and the rural areas where resources are scarce and there’s challenged health services,” said the Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize on Monday at the inter-ministerial meeting on Covid-19 outbreak.

 The department is working on strengthening the issue of Covid-19 prevention, he added,  because that is the cheapest and the easiest way to lessen the virus’ infection rate. To this end, the department is intensifying communication — reaching out to community leaders and dispensing pamphlets to inform more people.

“We are meeting a number of leaders on Thursday and going to issue pamphlets — as well as go on radio [to talk about the virus]. This is so we can reach out to the largest number of people, so that they understand and we can demystify this virus,” Mkhize said.

‘We’ve dealt with epidemics before’

According to Mkhize, inequality is most visible in times of epidemics, and explained how more resources are needed when providing treatment in poor, or underprivileged areas. 

“And with all the epidemics that we deal with, we always find that we need more resources particularly in the rural or poor areas. But in the past we have dealt with cholera, malaria — and recently listeriosis,” he added.

 The department is looking to include community healthcare workers, and the expanded public works programme as part of the Covid-19 information campaign in townships and rural areas. These workers will also assist in augmenting tracer teams so that communities are aware of what symptoms to look out for, where to get tested and more.

“The focus on underprivileged communities is actually the thrust of why we’re taking this route,” Mkhize said. – Health-e News