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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

Malawi: meet the local leader fighting COVID-19 vaccine misinformation

In the village of Thambani, in the southwestern town of Mwanza in Malawi, Chief Chimlango has taken action to help promote COVID-19 vaccinations. In the process, he has become one of Malawi’s leading advocates for the vaccination campaigns. Learn how EU humanitarian aid supports him.  

Chief Chimlango outside in the village
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“There was a lot of resistance in the area due to certain ingrained beliefs. So, it was important for other leaders and me to step up,” Chief Chimlango said. His efforts were promoted by the project ‘Support the Rollout of Malawi’s COVID-19 National Vaccination Campaign’.

The project, implemented countywide by 2 consortia comprising of 9 international humanitarian NGOs, is supported by EU humanitarian aid. It aims to reduce the further spread of COVID-19 in Malawi and enhance vaccine uptake.

“First, I went round the villages and explained to the people what COVID-19 was and told them we were all vulnerable if we did not get vaccinated,” says Chief Chimlango. He also summoned village groups to talk about the pandemic.

Child being vaccinated by a nurse
© Save The Children. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.

In Chief Chimlango’s area, 1,240 of the 2,160 eligible adults have been vaccinated, over 57% of the population. This is way above the national average of 7.3%. “I am not shy or ashamed. I have a job to do,” he explains.

This health project is part of the EU’s humanitarian aid initiative supporting the rollout of COVID-19 vaccination in Africa. The initiative was announced in 2021 by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

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