By Sanenje Mussa
Blantyre, Mana: Population Services International (PSI) – Malawi is set to introduce COVID-19 self-testing in Blantyre and all border districts using Human-Centered Design (HCD) to enable people know their status and act accordingly to avoid further spread of the disease.
The development was revealed this week at the start of a three-day workshop where COVID-19 testing assessment and message development would be discussed.
In his presentation, Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response Officer (IDSR) for PSI, Chisomo Phiri, said COVID-19 self-testing will help people conduct the test at their convenience in the comfort of their homes.
“The project wants to fill in the gap on COVID-19 testing and messaging. We want to intervene by starting with message development and then proceed with a new intervention of COVID-19 self-testing.
“Our goal is to increase access to and uptake of COVID-19 tests and increase effective use of COVID-19 diagnostic kit for self-testing,” said Phiri.
Blantyre Health Promotion and Public Relations Officer, Chrissy Banda, said a lot of people were still hesitating to go for COVID-19 test despite the district still recording so many cases of the same.
“There are some gaps that need to be addressed that make people fail to understand and go for COVID-19 test. As such, there is need for more information on it to clear the myths and misinformation.
“If we develop COVID-19 messages, especially on the development of new self-testing, people will be encouraged to know their statuses.
“We hope that if the project is feasible, it will enforce policy change in the country,” said Banda.
She then urged people in Blantyre to ensure that they go for COVID-19 test whenever they see signs and symptoms of the disease to ensure minimal transmission.
The self-testing project will run for a year and is being implemented by PSI in consortium with Malawi Liverpool Trust.