Covid, between Kenya and Somalia women with a radio against fake news on the vaccination campaign

Covid, between Kenya and Somalia women with a radio against fake news on the vaccination campaign
Covid, between Kenya and Somalia women with a radio against fake news on the vaccination campaign

In the borderland between the Kenya and the Somalia the pandemic Covid-19 is contrasted with a radiolina powered by solar energy. To turn it on, moving from village to village, are the Donne Kenyote, united inoppose to the campaign of misinformation on vaccines implemented by the jihadist group of Al – Shabaab, which for some time has kept the population under threat with exemplary bombings and punishments and which has now decided to take up the weapon of fake news to “kill the population en masse and use our Earth for their selfish activities “, he tells the local newspaper Nation, Candidate Ibrahim, one of the women involved in the pro-vaccination campaign.

The Somali terrorist group of Al – Shabaab he does not want the population to become immune to the Coronavirus. For months, after hunting from the more isolated villages of northeastern Kenya, the healthcare personnel foreigner and having closed some hospitals, he sent a series of falsehoods about vaccines via mobile phone, using the support of sympathizers and secret cells. A propaganda made of text messages, spread like wildfire in the region, in which it is claimed that the vials are a Western weapon functional to eradicate Muslims from their territories. According to the vulgate of Al – Shabaab, i vaccines in fact, pig derivatives would count, they would return sterile the girls, infecting people and at the same time making them more promiscuous. But the women of the Alinjughur trip decided to object. “We met, despite resistance from elders who questioned our role in fighting disinformation and telling the truth about the Covid-19 vaccine,” said Ebla Ahmed, a member of the Alinjughur Women’s Association. Thus, openly challenging the jihadist group, the women of Alinjughur bought a solar-powered radio, given that electricity is scarce in the region, to carry out an information campaign that would counter that spread by terrorists. “We realized that the radio would help us to educate it’s at mobilize other women. In addition to countering the fake news circulated by disinformation spreaders ”, says Asli Hussein, another member of the association. And so it was. Traveling on foot or by camel, the women systematically brought the inhabitants of the various villages together in a circle, reproducing the latest updates on Covid-19 and spreading the recorded rumors of doctors and experts. A daily ritual that has saved probably thousands of people. In this way, in fact, they have not only managed to raise awareness among the population on containment measures, including hand washing, the use of masks and social distancing, but have also prepared the ground to convince people to get vaccinated, when the vials will arrive.

The spark from the village of Alinjughur set off to turn on more lights. The village of Nunow, near the Somali border, has in fact continued the fight involving young, other women and above all the Senior citizens of the village, whose voice is essential to convince the population ad accept vaccines. Having obtained their blessing, the women of Nunow moved in turn to build a vaccination center and a warehouse for the storage of vials in the village, creating a traditional domed shelter made of straw and pieces of wood, equipped with a roof of grass that will waterproof the space during the rainy season. After them, another flame has spread to the village of Abdisamet, which has transformed one disused health facility in an other vaccination center. Once the vaccines arrive, as Saadiya Abdullahi, a member of the Nunow Women’s Association, explains to Nation, community health workers will teach the village’s traditional healers. how to administer the vials: “We will use camels to transport vaccines from village to village and to water points,” he said.

But the echo of the struggle of Kenyan women did not stop and, after reaching the most isolated villages of Northeast Kenya, it also arrived in the buildings, finding favor with the administration of Garissa County, located in the country’s former Northeast province. “We appreciate the role of women in undertaking the promotion of Covid-19 vaccines in the border region,” Mohamed Salat, director of preventive health services of Garissa County, told Nation, “We are ready to partner with them in remote areas. We want to explore ways to expand their work and initiatives on Covid-19 vaccination education and promote containment measures“, He adds. For their part, women’s associations, gathered under a single hat to be more incisive, are now asking for protection, safety, other radios and coolers, essential for vaccine storage. “We need to support local, regional and national, ”says Abdullahi,“ Our dream is to reach every single member of our community with the Covid-19 vaccine and to save our people “.

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