WE have had an intense COVID-19 vaccination campaign and outreaches going on as a build-up to the Kuomboka ceremony in our district says the Ministry of Health in Mongu.

In an interview ahead of the Lozi traditional ceremony taking place tomorrow, Moffat Kasoka, the Mongu acting district health director, said there was a lot of support from partners such as CDC in ensuring a robust approach in scaling up a number of vaccinations.

He said there was a high number of vaccination sites, intended to increase the number of people getting vaccinated.

“These activities are all done to make sure that the Kuomboka ceremony, to echo the words of the Ngambela, is safe even as huge influx of people come, at the end of the day it’s intended that there should not be a residue effect in terms of COVID-19 infections. We as a ministry have scaled up our screening for COVID-19, so at our facilities and even in the field, we are offer a robust screening programme,” Kasoka said.

He added that the screening programme had been extended even to the visitors in the town without leaving anything to chance.

Kasoka urged visitors who had come for the Kuomboka, as well as residents, to take advantage of the COVID-19 screening programme.

“The screening is very much available and will not stop. We shall have sites even during the Kuomboka, various sites will be there to be explored. Whenever there is an activity, we are offering the screening programme, even the vaccination to make sure that the Kuomboka is a successful event without any residual effects in terms of COVID and rising the number of cases,” he said.

He said the Mongu District health office had been working closely with the Barotse Royal Establishment in relation to the Kuomboka, as per tradition.

Kasoka said there had been several meetings in preparation for a successful and event free Kuomboka.

He recalled that following the statement by the Ngambela to support Ministry of Health in prevention of COVID infections, there had been a close working relationship in the build-up to the ceremony.

Kasoka said the Ministry of Health Mongu office had instituted a team of health officers from his office and the council which had been conducting inspections on public places to ensure that all public premises were practicing measure as prescribed in the SI 21 and 22 of 2021 in making sure that every public premise had hand washing facilities and manned by individuals who are masking up.

Kasoka said the Mongu district health office had made sure that workers in all public premises had been vaccinated.

“All lodges have staff that is vaccinated. We have been working with them, reminding them and urging them to make sure they get vaccinated and I wish to report that we received a very positive feedback; so the lodges are manned by people that have been offered the vaccine. Most of them actually were vaccinated even before the preparatory inspections started,” said Kasoka.