BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
THE Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) has implored government to provide adequate information to the public in order to fight disinformation on the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its latest report on COVID-19 accountability, ZPP said the majority of citizens in the country were relying on social media as a source of information because they had no access to television and other mainstream media used by government to disseminate information.
ZPP said recent surveys showed that 83% of the respondents were aware that government had received donations of the COVID-19 vaccines from China and India.
However 68,7% were not aware of any other funds or donations that were administered by government in the fight against COVID-19.
“Statistics show that 88,1% of the respondents relied on social media as their source of information, with television and newspapers being the least used sources of information both at 4%. Unfortunately, official communication on issues of national interest remains vague,” ZPP said.
“While government has made great strides in bringing to the fore what would have been discussed in the weekly Cabinet meetings through a Press conference aired on the national broadcaster, it has remained inadequate, as there are some citizens who do not have access to television or radio and as such have missed important news or information.”
Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike said lack of adequate information on the pandemic had resulted in the public failing to adhere to the recommended COVID-19 safety
“There is need for COVID-19 literacy, education and information awareness among the church leaders and other opinion leaders so that they can become our COVID-19 vaccine ambassadors and champions in educating their followers and congregations to embrace the vaccine jab and also adhering to the WHO [World Health Organisation] recommended guidelines and protocols on COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures,” Rusike said.
ZPP also criticised government for failing to come up with a sustainable educational system in schools amidst the pandemic, which has seen learners failing to access learning at the appropriate times.
“An effective e-learning system across the country is indubitably overdue. Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the government does not seem to have any short or long-term plan,” said ZPP.