As cholera cases keep rising in the country, Castel Malawi has taken up an initiative to sensitize its workers on prevention of the rampaging outbreak and the urgent need to be vaccinated.
The country’s leading brewers and distillers, Castel Malawi has partnered with the Ministry of Health through District Health Offices (DHOs) who visited their premises in Liwonde, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Blantyre for such exercises.
Speaking after a session at its headquarters in Blantyre, Castel Malawi’s Human Resources and Corporate Affairs Director, Gloria Zimba said they joined the government’s efforts to fight the disease because they value the lives of their employees, their families, and the customers.
“As part of the Castel Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives Health and Safety is one of the 6 pillars and caring for our employees’ health is paramount. We believe that Castel Malawi is a very critical part of the population of Malawi since we carter our products across the whole country. Blantyre city is one the hotspots of cholera and we know that most of our employees come from some of the locations that have been hardest hit in the city.”
“So, we felt that we should take up the initiative of sensitizing our employees as well as encouraging taking of the OCV. We took up this initiative following the call from the Malawi Government that they want the private sector to partner with them in the combat against cholera,” said Zimba.
“Although these are our employees, they also belong to the society, so we believe that those employees who have taken their oral vaccine will go home and will encourage their family members to visit the clinics for their own vaccines, because they are also vulnerable,” added Zimba.
Zimba also disclosed that the company is in talks with some selected town and city councils to extend cholera prevention item donations to a few main markets to ensure hygiene in the markets which are usually congested and have dry taps, which creates a breeding ground for the disease.
“Some donations will be done for some selected health centers in liaison with the DHO’s as well. As a corporate citizen, we believe we need to give back to society. This time around, Castel Malawi wants to be a friend indeed.”
“We have also distributed hand sanitizers to our employees to ensure they are always safe. We have also intensified cleanliness within our working environment by providing chlorine to our cleaners and trained them on proper usage as they are frequently disinfecting all places that are always in contact with people,” said Zimba.
One of the employees who accessed the oral vaccine, Joel Phiri commended the company for the initiative.
“The gesture shows that the company cares for our health,” he said.
Director of Health and Social Services at Blantyre DHO, Dr Gift Kawalazira also hailed Castel Malawi in an interview saying the gesture compliments their outreach calls for the cholera vaccine.
“It’s not always possible to reach out to all individuals in their homes because of several economic activities. Some people leave their homes earlier and return late and do not have time to visit the clinics.
“We are therefore grateful to Castel Malawi for the gesture as they helped us to reach out to some of the people in the Blantyre population of 800, 000 whom we are targeting with the vaccine. We appeal to other companies to emulate the gesture,” he said.