Friday, March 24

A unique role: Gambian entertainers influence fans to get Covid-19 jabs

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Local entertainers have disclosed that they used music to positively influence followers to get vaccinated against Covid-19, according to those who spoke to The Point.

This came on the heels of last year’s awareness-raising campaign with Gambian artistes, National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC), ECOWAS and UNESCO.

The joint response of ECOWAS and UNESCO was to support Member States in mitigating the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The aim was to ensure that Gambian artistes have an opportunity to encourage Gambians to take the vaccination and also earn an income from their creation.

Marima Cham, a female artiste and an activist, stated that she used music to positively influence people’s thoughts about the vaccines. She added that much misinformation about the vaccines resulted in increasing fears of getting vaccinated by many in our society.

“Some people were blinded by ignorance and as artistes, we use our voices to amplify our thoughts in fighting Covid-19 and encourage Gambians to take the vaccines in order to protect themselves and their families.”

Cihu Yaffa, a famous Gambian artiste explains that when the pandemic started, the first thing that was on his mind was to develop a Song of Hope. He added that the world needed a unique song in their journey through COVID-19 lockdowns and government restrictions.

“I said to myself that the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic require dynamic ways of responding because not everyone would watch the news on television or read newspapers. That’s the inspiration behind the release of my Covid-19 song to educate Gambians and encourage them to take the jabs.”

Yaffa further disclosed that music could be one of the best ways of reaching more people with COVID-19 preventive messages and explaining to Gambians the need for them to take the vaccination seriously.

Explaining further, Yaffa, subsequently said that he thought it wise to come up with an anti-COVID-19 and vaccination song of hope to cope with the physical and emotional trauma caused by the pandemic.

For his part, Barhama Cham, one of Gambia’s top artistes and instrumentalists, indicated that he took it upon himself when the pandemic started to sensitise his family members and fans through a single he released. He expressed that music is his power and it’s also the best way to communicate to people about the importance of the Covid-19 vaccination and its effectiveness.

“Before coming up with the advocacy song about the vaccination, I made sure that I took the vaccine first so that I stood in a better position to encourage others to protect themselves and their families,” he said.

Omar Cham, a poet noted that the Covid-19 pandemic is one of the most disturbing global challenges, explaining that this nemesis has led to serious socioeconomic problems. As one of the most iconic poets in the country, he deemed it a responsibility to contribute his part in the fight against the virus.

“This was needed because all sectors of society had to be engaged in order to cover a bigger mass.”

He, however, indicated that it’s very important to take the vaccines, saying it is a fundamental step in saving oneself from the possible thwarts of the virus. He said: “The more people take the vaccines, the safer the world will become.”

Gibril Gando Baldeh, a senior health communications officer at the Health Communications Unit, Directorate of Health Promotion and Education at the Ministry of Health, expressed delight at Gambian artistes for helping them in the fight against Covid-19.

According to Mr. Baldeh, the Ministry of Health engaged many Gambian artistes during the start of the pandemic to work on educational songs about the covid-19 virus, its prevention and how one can be safe around an infected person.

“But to be honest, not much efforts have been done with regard to the vaccination so I am urging all Gambian artistes to consider intensifying the sensitisation of the vaccination because there is a need for one to be vaccinated to be safe for oneself and families,” he said.