Boost for Chipinge hospitals: US$22 000 PPEs from AWET

US$22 000 PPEs from AWET

By Ellen Mlambo

CHIPINGE – The Apostolic Women Empowerment Trust (AWET), a non-profit-making organisation fighting for the end of child marriages in Apostolic Faith Churches has donated US$22 000 worth of personal protective equipment and detergents to three health service centres in Chipinge.

The donations were made to Chipinge District Hospital and two clinics in Ngaone, Ward 2.AWET also advocates for the empowering of women and adolescents so that they can participate in social and economic development processes that enable them to advance their rights.

The donation was handed over to Chipinge District Hospital on Thursday last week and AWET director Tendayi Gudo attended the function.

The health service centres received 1000 litres sodium hypochlorite, 1000 litres liquid soap, 750 litres thick bleach,250 toilet dip, 200 aprons, 200 face shields, 50 taped buckets, 1 000 disposable face masks, 1 000 bin liners, 250 litres floor polish, 50 mops, 400 kg Maq washing powder, 50 heavy-duty gloves, 1 739 units of hand sanitisers.

Chipinge District Medical Officer Brian Makumbe thanked AWET for the donation and urged people to maintain social distance good hygiene.

Makumbe said that there were 124 Covid- 19 cases in the province and of those 24 are clinicians and added that 56% were local transmissions.

Chipinge District Development Coordinator William Mashava said that AWET has always been there in times of disaster as it also donated to the people of Chipinge during the time of Cyclone Idai.

“During Idai AWET made donations. Their donations are complimenting Government efforts to fight Covid 19,” said Mashava.

“The donation will go a long way in assisting the people of Chipinge. We are trying our best to complement Government efforts in fighting against Covid 19. Everyone is at risk and we urge every person to take part in the fight against Covid 19,” said Gudo.

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Behaviour change key in fight against typhoid

fight against typhoid

Despite a recommendation by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that typhoid vaccines be considered for the control of endemic disease and outbreaks, uptake has remained limited in certain pockets of society including the Apostolic Sect.

By Tendayi Gudo Correspondent

Apostolic Women Empowerment Trust (AWET) works with all Apostolic groups and is very much aware of the risks that the Apostolic community faces with regards to typhoid. The Apostolic sect constitutes plus 38 per cent of the total Zimbabwean population and is among the high incidence groups.

Therefore, targeted interventions have been done and are still being done in Apostolic communities to help raise awareness on typhoid as a way of enhancing behaviour change.

Studies suggest that vaccines alone are unlikely to eliminate the endemic disease in the short to medium term without sustained, long term behavioural change. While vaccines can reduce disease burden substantially when introduced it is only effective when it is coupled with improvements in access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene practices.

Although largely controlled in other developed countries, typhoid remains endemic in many parts of the world and Zimbabwe is one country which is affected. Typhoid is an important cause of febrile illness in crowded, low-income settings and since the Apostolic community falls under the lowest wealth quantile bracket, the risk of getting typhoid is high for members who use the bush system when at prayer sites and shrines.

A notable feature of typhoid is the presence of the bacteria in the stool or urine for a long period of time. This is a cause of concern as the Apostolic members use unsafe water sources and defecate in open spaces as they do not have ownership to the open spaces they use as prayer sites hence they cannot build toilets. Most of the time when mass gatherings happen, the bush is used as a form of toilet and water is obtained from rivers and shallow wells.

AWET believes that the mass vaccinations being encouraged and administered can save lives in the Apostolic communities and protect future generations.

However, they should not be used as a distraction from improvements in sanitation and hygiene by members of the Apostolic community hence the targeted awareness campaigns on behaviour change that continue to be done.

The many risk factors that have been identified in the Apostolic communities continue to be addressed in the targeted interventions that are still being carried out. We encourage members of the Apostolic community in the targeted communities to practice safe hygiene which includes, but is not limited to use of safe treated water to drink, desisting from using the same “mbiya” for healing purposes, washing of hands thoroughly after using the toilet, before eating and before preparing food.

The use of the bush as an alternative for toilets has been strongly discouraged and AWET believes targeted awareness on behaviour change and acceptance of vaccinations and immunisations during mass church gatherings has been encouraged and members have been told to make sure the environment is clean and food preparation areas are hygienic.

Since Apostolic members worship in open spaces with no sanitation facilities, it was important to reiterate that they should boil it or treat it with a chlorine product or household bleach as a way of preventing the spread of typhoid and cholera.

Another risk factor that was identified by AWET within the Apostolic communities was the use of “mbiya” or water gourds for healing purposes which are used for all people regardless of their ailment.

AWET is taking part in the mass immunisation of typhoid. AWET has registered general nurses, mobilisers, facilitators who are making sure that the Apostolic members get the typhoid vaccine. It is imperative for Apostolic members to get the typhoid vaccine since they are the most susceptible due to the risk factors mentioned.

Typhoid is still a major problem in the country and official figures from the Ministry of Health and Child Care indicate that more than 6 675 suspected cases of typhoid, 181 confirmed cases and 11 deaths were reported countrywide between a typhoid outbreak which started in October 2017 in Harare and others in 2018.

Tendayi Gudo is the AWET National Coordinator. Email

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Apostolic sect women lead campaign against child marriages

Child Marriages

More than 500 women from different apostolic sects converged at Mkoba Teachers’ College at the weekend to tackle the problem of child marriages within their denomination.

The two-day conference, organised by the Apostolic Women Empowerment Trust (Awet), urged congregants to unite and end child marriages. The conference, which ended yesterday, was running under the theme, Apostolic Women Unite Against Child Marriage. Awet national co-ordinator, Tendayi Gudo, said the apostolic sect had always been accused of promoting child marriages, hence, their decision to converge and demystify the misconception.

“The apostolic sect has been associated with a lot of bad publicity especially on child marriages, child abuse, not being educated and being the poorest people in society,” she said.

“We are trying to break those prejudices, so as to empower and impart gender equality within the apostolic churches.

“Child marriage violates the fundamental human rights of girls and boys, but disproportionately affects girls denying them their right to a consensual marriage, as well as their right to an education, protection, economic engagement and reproductive health care.”

In January this year, the Constitutional Court outlawed child marriages and struck off section 22(1) of the Marriage Act, which, for decades, had allowed children under the age of 18 to formally get married.

The ruling was triggered by an application filed by two Harare women, Loveness Mudzuru (19) and Ruvimbo Tsopodzi (18), who approached the court through their lawyer, Tendai Biti, challenging the Customary Marriages Act.

They argued it infringed on the constitutional rights of young girls and boys who were getting married at an early age.

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