San community sets up Covid-19 information centre in Tsholotsho

The San community in Tsholotsho has set up a Covid-19 community centre to share information and raise awareness about the global pandemic to locals in the district.

Most members of the Khoisan community live on the edges of Matabeleland and struggle to access basic information let alone news about Covid-19 while the World Health Organisation (WHO) also noted that indigenous communities are disproportionately affected by the pandemic worldwide.

In Zimbabwe, the Khoisan have little access to health care, which affects their wellbeing in relation to the pandemic and exposes them to a greater risk.

But with the establishment of the information hub located at the Tsholotsho Business Centre the San can now access information about Covid-19 and other news.

“The Tsorotso San Development Trust after receiving funding from OSISA established a Covid-19 information centre at Tsholotsho. We have trained ward monitors to educate and monitor news about the virus since cases are on the rise locally,” Davy Ndlovu, a San community leader who is also Director of Tsorostso Development Trust

Ndlovu said unfortunately some people in Tsholotsho thought Covid-19 was affecting other countries globally and not spreading among locals

“This is why the information centre was established to educate people that Covid-19 is real and is a real threat if people are not cautious. We will continue monitoring news especially this December, we are already in a festive period and there’s a lot of movement which may result in an increase of cases,” he said.

“For one of our trainings, a senior health inspector from Tsholotsho District Hospital participated in the training and now we are trying to work with other stakeholders to spread awareness. I am happy to say the information centre by the Tsorostso Development Trust is a first of its kind and will fill in the information gap.”

Ndlovu lamented that the biggest challenge among the San people was lack of knowledge about the disease and other current issues as a result of information blackout.

“One challenge about Covid-19 and indigenous groups like the San is access to information, which is why we aim to target people living on the periphery and of course information would also be provided to the general populace,” he said.

 “As the San we live in secluded communities and we don’t easily access information or have  it at the right time and in the right way. In some cases, the information we receive is not even reliable. Among our communities there are no radio and television signals, and there is no network coverage for cellular phones.”

Ndlovu said the other challenge is that the San community has long been marginalised without access even to basic education.

“We need to translate the material to local languages because the material in English will not be helpful as some people cannot read or write,” he noted.

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