Josphat Makaza, “Invisible Makaza”
As according to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Children, Article 17, it states that it is the duty of state parties to ensure the children had access to information especially that is aimed at the promotion of his or her physical and mental health.
Whilst the government is intensifying the dissemination of COVID 19 information through various mediums youths and children in rural communities are just behaving as if the house is not on fire. The recent monitoring by Chiadzwa Community Development Trust monitors in Marange had revealed that there is of lack of critical information on the pandemic in the diamond mining community.
Children do not know how to cover a cough, they touch where they want and youths mingle just like rates in communities. More work need to be done before it is too late.Following the Centre for Disease Control CDC and the Ministry of Health and Child Care guidelines , the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed. The guides offers general prevention measures that include cleaning hands often, observing one metre person to person distance whilst avoiding mingling with others. Youths despite these warnings are knocking day and night on closed local beer halls and shopping centres. They are going playing football in large numbers not forgetting the scourge but unaware of the devastating effects. This clearly shows lack of information on corona virus in our communities. Epidemiologic evidence suggests that the virus transmit readily by respiratory droplets and contact, this suggests that attendance at mass gatherings result in transmission. The CCDT environmental monitors had to call the Zimbabwe Republic Police to force youths leave a bottle store after saying the disease does not affect the active populace.
During one metre person to person interviews with youths on the key symptoms of COVID-19 as outlined by the World Health Organization and the government of Zimbabwe the youths failed us. They are not even aware of the toll free 2019 Netone emergency line offered by the government.
At a local shopping centre the shop owner said the 20 litre bucket of foam soap last four days and she had to stand diligently forcing customers mostly youths and children to wash hands.”They do not know the purpose of washing hands regularly “, she added.In a statement at a local food distribution centre Goal Zimbabwe staff said they are encountering challenges not only with children and youths but parents as well. ” We asked parents through traditional leaders not to bring children at food centres but they are at every point flocking in numbers”. When they arrived we force them, he said, to wash hands and none took care of reading response measures on posters from the government. The official said government and civil society should partner community based organisation in raising awareness on COVID – 19.
A local shop owner Mr Ngayikere said he is disappointed by the level of information held by the community. “Government and community representative groups must support marginalized communities during this time”, he said. There is urgent need for COVID 19 youths interactive platforms where they discuss and share experience and challenges brought by the virus amongst youths and children.
Currently CCDT with support from the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association is advocating for the participation of youths and children in programs and projects and COVID- 19 Marange youths awareness campaign is not an exception.