Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 92 WCoZ Situation Report

92 days into the lockdown, the Ministry of Health and Child-Care reported that as at 29 June 2020, the total number of Covid-19 had increased 574, after 7 new cases tested positive. The death toll has risen to 7, following the death of a male aged 49 in Bulawayo. We send our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased.

Critical Emerging Issues

Accountability and Transparency in Distribution and procurement to Covid-19 Supplies

Reports reveal lack of resources for the rehabilitation of the Thorngrove and Ekusileni hospitals in Bulawayo, which were set to admit and cater for Covid-19 patients. This is worrying especially given the numerous donations and resources reported to have been mobilised towards the Covid-19 response. 

We emphasize that it is the responsibility of Government to ensure that institutions are capacitated enough to respond to Covid-19;

  • We therefore urge transparency regarding expenditure towards the Covid-19 response. 
  • We call upon the state to rapidly prioritise the resourcing of these institutions and equitably support communities in the readiness of response centres 
  • Furthermore, we continue to call for the publication for the distribution matrix of Covid-19 supplies to ensure that the highest standards of good governance, accountability and transparency.

Indeed, such publication will assure communities, and the public at large the level of readiness that the health sector to be ready to handle potential incoming cases of positive Covid-19 cases.

Education

The ZIMSEC June examinations are set to start tomorrow, amidst challenges posed by Covid-19. We continue to query the education sector’s readiness in ensuring that students and staff are not exposed to Covid-19. Reports indicate that certain traditional exam centres, schools, will not be used as exams centres as they are currently being utilised as quarantine and isolation centres.

  • We await the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Guidance on ensuring the following: 
  1. All learners and teachers to be tested prior to commencement of lessons 
  2. Measures to be put in place for those in boarding school to ensure social distancing of learners in their day to day lives,
  3. Measures put in place to ensure that the staff and other day-scholars, from the outside world do not carry the virus to the school premises. 

Outstanding issues

Price Hikes

We continue to witness worsening economic hardships in communities, both, rural and urban settings due to inflation and the loss of income earning capacity for most households. A visit to the supermarket reveals sharp price hikes of basic commodities such as cooking oil, sugar and flour as the Zimbabwe dollar continues to lose value against the US Dollar. Aware that this situation increases the level of vulnerability of already struggling household’s particularly women-led households which fully rely on the informal economy;

  • We continue to remind Government, of section 77 of the Constitution, which guarantees every person the right to sufficient food, and places an obligation on the State to achieve the progressive realisation of this right.
  • We further urge the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, and also the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe to investigate cases of illegal price hikes of basic commodities.
  • Furthermore, we continue to urge the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Social Welfare to expedite disbursement of food aid and grants to vulnerable communities in a transparent manner, without any political interference.

Water and sanitation

Communities continue to face challenges in accessing adequate water and sanitation. We note that this global pandemic requires increased levels of hygiene and in particular, clean and safer potable water. We highlight the plight of women in Kwekwe, Gweru, Bulawayo and other surrounding areas who have been placed under phenomenal strain, as they seek to assess water through other alternative means;

  • We therefore urge the critical need for the rapid escalation of medium- and long-term water solutions as part of the Covid-19 response actions.
  • We therefore reiterate our demand for a comprehensive national approach and plan to address the chronic and persistent shortages of water in Zimbabwe’s communities
  •  We call upon an increased expedition of operational and administrative responsiveness to communities in crisis not only by the constrained Local Authorities but by central government and its applicable national institutions to ensure that citizens are able to access water.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe