According to Section 29 Subsection 1 and 3 of the Zimbabwe Constitution:
- The state must take all practical measures to ensure the provision of basic, accessible and adequate health services through out Zimbabwe.
- The state must take all preventive measures within the limits of the resources available to it, including education and public awareness against the spread of disease.
Section 64 Subsection 1 of the Education Act as amended in 2006 stipulates that the Minister of Health shall make regulations for the purpose of safeguarding the health of learners. The policy provides a broad framework of reference to safeguard the implementation of a number of health related interventions relating to the welfare of learners in the school system.
Hence, the success of this policy heavily depends on the effective coordination, implementation linkages, learners, teachers, government, stakeholders participation and ownership, monitoring and evaluation.
The Zimbabwe School Health Policy (ZHSP) emanates from recognition from the inseparable relationship between health and education and the fact that many aliments can be prevented through appropriate interventions at the earliest stages possible.
In context of the African Union Agenda 2063 and SDGs the ZHSP is a critical component of continental education strategy with address the prevention of infectious diseases at the earliest time possible.
As ARTUZ we therefore acknowledge the announcement by his HE to ban all public gatherings of above 100 people. As the health portfolio, we have realised that the president short changed the education sector by not declaring the closure of school at the earliest time possible.
Our reasons are as follows:
- Schools have almost 3000 learners per each institution hence the spread of Covid-19 is plus 90%.
- Learners are part of the populace banned from gathering at various events in numbers more that 100, but at schools there are in thousands.
- Our statistics reveal that learners and teachers are exposed 100000000% to the virus hence schools are to remain open for the next two weeks? What’s the logic vis-à-vis the ZSHP?
We therefore call for the immediate closure of schools if we are to follow the March 2018 Zimbabwe School Health Policy.
We also call upon all stakeholders and the various communities to press for closure of schools with immediate effect just to save our leaders tomorrow.
Source: Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ)