#COVID19: Congo Brazzaville To Use Town Criers In Vaccination Campaign

Following the failure of the initial Covid-19 vaccination campaign, Congo has now switched to using town criers.

The Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) government has decided to use town criers in Pointe-Noire city,  the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country,  to educate the people on the need for vaccination.

This follows the poor turn out of citizens to the vaccination campaign against the virus.

According to Jean-Claude Etoumbakoundou, Secretary General of Pointe-Noire division, the town criers who will use hand microphones would visit markets, the streets, and all meeting places to sensitise the populations on the importance of getting vaccinated against the virus.

Besides markets and meeting places, they would also visit the various quarters of the town and relay their messages in the dominant languages of the various quarters which would include the lingala, kituba, and vili langusensitis.

The current infection rate of the COVID-19 virus in Congo Brazzaville stands at 12,121 with 160 deaths reported so far.

Health authorities report that though the number of deaths has been on the decrease since December 2020, at least ten persons still die each month from the virus since January 2021.

This figure is frightening enough to force the  government to insist on the necessity to accelerate the putting in place of a national vaccination plan with the objective of vaccinating at least 60 per cent of the population – 3,468,906 persons – between now and July 2022.

This will depend on the availability of sufficient vaccines on the one hand and the success of a national vaccination campaign on the other hand.

The government of President Denis Sassou N’Guesso is currently pursuing exchanges with its development partners and the African Union within the context of the COVAX project for which it has indicated its readiness to receive the Sputnik 5 vaccine.

“Thanks to the conjugation of all efforts, the vaccination campaign would benefit from the supply of sufficient doses to enable the number of vaccination centres to be increased from 24 in three divisions right now, to 453 vaccination sites throughout the national territory,” a senior official in the Ministry of Health told HumAngle.

So far, since March 23, 2021, only 90,762 persons have received their first dose of the vaccine with 58,677 persons having received the second dose of the Chinese SYNOPHARM or Russian Sputnik 5 vaccines.

The national COVID-19 vaccination campaign was launched in Congo Brazzaville on April 24, 2021 by President Denis Sassou N’Guesso.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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