141 days of COVID-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child-Care reported that, as at 16 August 2020, the total number of COVID-19 cases increased to 5 261 confirmed cases after 85 new cases tested positive, of which 81 of these were local transmission cases. The death toll stands at 132 after 2 deaths were reported on 16 August 2020.
Reports from our networks who have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation in their communities, generally point to the fact that although the pandemic is gaining a strong foothold within communities, the majority of the public continue to demonstrate high levels of disregard to COVID-19 safety guidelines demonstrating totally disregarding public health guidelines such as physical and social distancing.
- We remind the government that the law alone, is not an adequate driver of social change and call upon government to strengthen and reinvigorate efforts to raise awareness.
The negligent behaviour displayed in residential areas, both rural and urban, would suggest two things, either that the majority citizens believe that they are immune to COVID-19 OR that they are simply fatigued with COVID-19 measures.
- We call upon for intensified efforts to raise awareness on COVID-19, by stakeholders, community leaders and civil society organisations.
Critical Emerging Issues
Safeguarding women’s and girls’ rights in the time of COVD-19
We continue to bring to the fore, safeguarding women’s and girls’ rights, during COVID-19. This is anchored on adequate representation of women in decision-making position with the COVID-19 response structures. We emphasize that women’s solutions should be informed by women’s experiences and lived realities.
We therefore highlight lack of adequate women’s representation in the health structures, particularly taking into consideration the recent substantive appointments made in the Ministry of Health and Childcare. We provide the following recommendations.
- A gender lens approach to all COVID-19 preparedness, response and recovery efforts by Government, Parliament, Decision-makers, local authorities and other stakeholders.
- Implementation of Constitutional provisions, particularly, sections 17, 56 and 80, which speak to gender balance, and equality in representation in all spheres of the Zimbabwe society.
- Inclusion of more women’s rights organisations in the taskforce teams.
Provision of Psychosocial Support to affected communities.
As COVID-19 gains foothold in communities, we continue to note with distress the levels of trauma experienced by personnel in the healthcare service and persons screened for COVID-19 and their loved one as there are tested, await and receive results.
- We note that the failure to address the chronic counselling needs, fuels stigma and negative social behaviour and practices;
- We therefore continue to call upon the Government to deploy social workers and community case care workers to address heightened household and community level need for psychosocial support and strengthened social cohesion practices.
Delay in implementing social protection measures
The delays in implementing social protection measures continue to hit hard on vulnerable households. It is gravely disappointing to note the lack urgency by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, while on the other hand, the cost of living continues to soar high due to inflation. This has raised a general sense of discontent and disgruntlement by the communities over the delays in the implementation of social protection measures by Government.
- We call for proactive social vulnerability assessment undertaken by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare to be lead in the identification of vulnerable households and persons.
- We therefore call upon the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare to expedite the implementation of social protection programs to alleviate economic shocks upon vulnerable households.
- We further call the State to order, particularly on its duty to ensure that citizens enjoy the progressive realisation of their right to food and water.
- We recommend that Government invests in key services for children, in health and nutrition, education and protection against violence are effective and direct means to reduce the occurrence of child labour in our communities.
- We further recommend a deliberate active process to identify and provide support vulnerable families and children.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)