Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe, (WCOZ) welcomes and acknowledges the announcement by His Excellency, President of Zimbabwe E.D. Mnangangwa of the 21 Day Lockdown in response to the Corona Pandemic. Cognisant that measures announced by the Government of Zimbabwe will be reviewed to cater for a robust response to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Acknowledging that these measures are expected to disrupt the daily lives of Zimbabweans whilst seeking to protect society from the spread of COVID19. WCOZ seeks to support the Government of Zimbabwe to consider measures that will address the national goals during the process whilst protecting women, girls and the vulnerable at this time. WCOZ therefore recommends the following measures to be included to mechanisms announced on the 27th of March 2020, namely to:
- Designate Community Health Care Workers and Community Case Care Workers as part of essential service and ensure that maternity services, services for children under the age of 5 years and vulnerable groups are provided whilst respecting the social distancing protocols.
- Designate social services workers as essential services as they provided critical support to vulnerable segments of the population whose needs will be increasingly necessary when the population is confined to their homes.
- Ensure that maternity hospitals, mother’s shelters, Gender Based Violence, Rape shelters and centres providing access to family planning services are able to operate during this period.
- Victim Friendly Unit must continue to provide services and must have a free national hotline that will be actively manned during that period.
- Prevention of the spread of sexually transmitted infections such as HIV and others through ensuring the provision and ease of access to both female and male condoms and ensure the provision of access to both Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis.
- Provision of sanitary-ware for distribution and purchase at health and community centres as well as at shopping
centres that will be operational in terms of the general measures.
- Distribution of food to those facing urban hunger particularly as those receiving vouchers may be unable to do so within the immediate period prior to the inception of the lockdown.
- Government to put in place measures for women to be able to continue to produce, package and distribute food produce (horticultural goods) to ensure the food markets actually have food.
- Food markets/ stalls to operate under the direct supervision of the Zimbabwe Police Service whilst observing social distancing guidelines.
We further call upon the government to give further guidance to the following:
- Recognise the crisis of care that the pandemic and applicable lockdowns are causing and therefore ensure that social workers, psychologists, counsellors and community care workers are connected to the national toll free line 2019 and are also able to access and support remote and rural communities during this period with official support and recognition by Government.
- Provide specific directions to rural communities during the lockdown to measures addressing cattle herding and disease management for livestock during this period.
- Urgently and equitably direct resources to support the delivery of bulk clean and safe water to communities facilitate the development of “Gumbo Gear / Tippy Taps” to plug sanitation gaps in communities.
- Specific community centric mechanisms to disseminate accurate and considered information to rural communities.
- Ensure the continuity of the food distribution of in rural communities during this time whilst respecting social distancing provisions. This is critical as several communities have already faced disruption to their food distribution schedules increasing their vulnerabilities
- Consideration for the running of the community grinding mills ‘izigayo/zvigayo’ which can be operated whilst social distancing is respected under the supervision of the police were not possible local authority designated community leaders.
- To provide further specific details of steps will be taken to protect the prison population from the spread of the coronavirus beyond decongestion of the prisons.
- Specific measures to be taken to address homeless children and families living on the streets, informal settlements, camps and those living in the margins of our society and have limited and no access to services and information at all.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)