First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has stepped up efforts to prepare rural communities against the coronavirus through enhanced awareness programmes that emphasise on hygiene and social distancing.
Amai Mnangagwa is the country’s Health Ambassador and has left no stone unturned in ensuring that people have access to vital information on how to protect themselves from the pandemic.
She has also mobilised resources for onward distribution to areas of need.
Yesterday, the First Lady and her Angel of Hope Foundation teams were in Mashonaland West Province, teaching communities about coronavirus and how they can protect themselves from the pandemic.
Areas covered in yesterday’s programme included Kariba, Nyamakate, Hurungwe, Makonde, Zvimba, Zvipane, Kadoma, Norton, Chegutu, Sanyati and Mhondoro.
The First Lady distributed an assortment of foodstuffs, home-made face masks, blankets and detergents to the elderly and other vulnerable members of community in Kariba and Zvipane, while her teams were in other areas.
She gave the communities water detergents and Angel of Hope Foundation sanitisers.
Amai Mnangagwa’s intervention was timely since the country is under lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus, while the elderly and other vulnerable members of the community had run out of food.
She implored families to put aside some of the traditional beliefs and customs for now, which expose them to coronavirus.
Failure to visit bereaved families to pass condolences, she said, did not mean that relations had been severed, but was a way of maintaining social distancing.
This was after the audience, during a question and answer session, had confirmed that it was difficult not to attend funerals as it went against traditional beliefs.
Judging from the questions asked by the audiences, it was evident that the people lacked vital information on the disease.
The First Lady’s humility and approach to issues affecting communities often leaves her audiences awestruck.
A village head in Hurungwe, Mr Misheck Kamutsamombe, could not hide his joy after meeting the First Lady.
He said he was going to be an ambassador in his village and use the knowledge acquired during the meeting to educate others on the pandemic.
“I am so thankful for what the First Lady has done for us. I had never seen anything like this before and I started seeing love of that magnitude today from the mother of the nation. May she keep on with her good heart. I will spread the message on Covid-19 to other villagers,” he said.
Gogo Jerina Mugwagwa (87) was equally elated and said Amai Mnangagwa had taught them valuable lessons about coronavirus.
“I learnt a lot of things that I did not know. In fact, we did not have masks, but she gave us all these things,” she said.
In her teachings, the First Lady paid tribute to President Mnangagwa for allowing every Zimbabwean to come home and said the response was overwhelming as people were coming daily.
She said in line with health regulations, the returnees would be quarantined until they were certified safe to mix with their friends and relatives.
“The President invited everyone back home and buses are busy bringing our citizens back. I was told this morning that buses are still coming. These people will be quarantined before they mix with others. This is a very trying period. What is left for us is to look after ourselves.
“The Government has shown us the way, what to do and what to follow. It is now left on us to follow the directives,” she said.
Amai Mnangagwa spoke about the use of masks and warned people against exchanging these as the move may spread coronavirus.
Her teachings were interactive as villagers were allowed to ask questions.
The First Lady also spoke about the preparation of the dead for burial where she advised people to leave this to health authorities who had specialised training.
She urged villagers to inform leaders whenever they receive visitors.
Turning to the community leaders, she advised them to keep records of people visiting their areas which will be useful in tracing and managing coronavirus (Covid-19) cases.
Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs Minister Mary Mliswa-Chikoka expressed gratitude to the First Lady for her benevolence and love for the people. She described the First Lady’s programmes as sustainable, practical and objective.
“I am happy to welcome the First Lady here in Mashonaland West, Hurungwe district. Our mother, we feel warm that you have come here to meet our elderly folk. The love you have shown during this lockdown period to come and teach our elderly people about this devastating epidemic that has affected all parts of the world is second to none.
“We are here as the world is in great pain because of Covid-19 which started abroad. We thank God who is looking after us here in Zimbabwe where deaths are not as high as in other parts of the world. Here in Zimbabwe we have lost four people because of the epidemic showing that the President’s decision to introduce a lockdown was visionary.
“Your programmes are sustainable, practical and objective showing your great love for us. We thank you heartily for remembering us at this time,” she said.
Gogo Tikoneyi Bajti of Nyamhunga suburb in Kariba who also benefited, hailed the First Lady for remembering the elderly.
She said the donation had come at the most opportune time when food reserves had depleted and they had no one to look up to.
“There comes a time when the situation gets bad for us the elderly, especially, when you have lost all, but one of your children. You come to a point where you look up to heaven for a solution and in what the First Lady has done I see an answer from the heavens,” she said.
Chief Chundu’s wife Portia Kakamba said the gesture by the First Lady was an example for other women in leadership positions including traditional leaders.
“We have been given a template to follow as leaders by our mother. The teachings that she is giving on Covid-19 are very helpful and encourage us to also do the same in the communities that we live,” she said.
Senator for Kariba James Gumpo, Hurungwe North MP Cde Ability Gandawa, Norton MP Temba Mliswa and Kariba District Development Coordinator Mr Shepherd Marweyi also attended the event.