Women are not magicians – Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 63 – WCoZ Covid-19 Situation Report

We are 63 days into the lockdown meaning Zimbabwe has spent over 2 months in lockdown, with the informal sector remaining the only sector closed due to the lockdown measures. According to statistics, more than 60% of Zimbabwe’s economy is informal economy. The majority of Zimbabweans rely on the informal sector for their very livelihood and the sector demographics indicate that women constitute at least 60% of the informal sector in Zimbabwe.

Therefore, the lockdown on the informal sector is exacerbating a direct disproportionate negative impact on women, as women-led households continue to lose income, crippling women’s livelihoods and undermining their capacity to maintain high levels of resilience. To date, especially with little or no demonstrated commitment on the part of Government to swiftly and substantively address the issue of lost livelihoods and the context of women, we state unequivocally that: This is not fair. Women are not magicians.

We continue to witness an unprecedented increase of the COVID-19 positive cases.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care reports that as at 30 May, the total number of confirmed cases stands at 174. New 14 cases have been recorded, 7 of which are local transmissions, and the rest are from returnees from South Africa, Botswana ad UK.

Furthermore, we continue to witness inconsistencies in policy and practice regarding essential services, public gatherings and inter-city travels. Rampant reports from our networks, communities, the public press and social media indicate ongoing socio-economic activities wherein there is continuing disdain and non-compliance with lockdown measures, without any legal repercussions. This has been noted particularly where prominent figures are travelling to the remote and rural areas where they are gathering ad interacting with the locals. We, therefore call upon Government to lead in compliance to the lockdown regulations.

Critical Emerging Issues

1. Review of the lockdown

We note with concern that despite the inception of the indefinite lockdown two weeks ago, the nation was due to receive a public announcement of the position by Government stating the status of the review of the indefinite lockdown.

However, at the time of this publication, no announcement had been made as yet.

This raises a great level of speculation and uncertainty amongst the people, especially those in the informal sector, who are still taking the hardest hit of the restrictions in operations.

  • We continue to recommend that any reviewing actions to be taken by Government, should be informed by consultations on citizens, and interested stakeholders.

2. Access to sexual and reproductive health products and services

Reports from our networks indicate that women and girls are facing untold hardships in accessing sanitary wear during this lockdown period.

Furthermore, women are facing increased hardships is accessing family planning pills with most stockist not having any stock and where stock is available, the costs are expensive for women whose incomes are reeling from the continued lockdown of the informal sector.

We note with concern the continued reports from communities wherein medical centres are limiting the numbers of persons receiving access to health care centres and services. This challenge has been attributed to budgetary and financial constrains presented by the lockdown measures, which have resulted in most households losing their income generating capacity. Noting that this status quo, will continue to obtain indefinitely, due to the fact that the lockdown period was declared indefinite.

  • We therefore recommend that Government rightly directs its attention to the challenges that women and girls are currently facing, and address those appropriately.
  • We call upon Government to develop and implement programs that will ensure that women and girls access free sanitary wear and family planning pills during the lockdown.

This SITREP is developed by and through the collective network of organisational and individual members of the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe who are engaged at community levels to national levels in the COVID19 Zimbabwe response.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)

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