162 days of Covid-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, as at 6 September 2020, the total number of Covid-19 cases increased to 7 116. Active cases are now at 1 535. The death toll currently stands at 208. A total of 5 373 recoveries have been recorded to date.
We note the latest announcement by Government that the Covid-19 taskforce has received nominations for 13 candidates who will make up an expert’s advisory committee for Covid-19. On the same note, we emphasize the lack of representation of women in the Covid-19 structures at District and Provincial levels. We further bemoan the need for a Covid-19 Gender desk. We therefore recommend that the Advisory Committee be balanced in terms of gender representation, in order to achieve a gender lens approach to all Covid-19 preparedness, response and recovery efforts.
We note the announcement of the first phase of the restructuring of the Ministry of Health and Child Care and of several initiatives as the restructuring exercise continues are underway. We continue to urge the Ministry to engage and consult multiple layers of stakeholders internally and externally to strengthen the measures adopted to deliver health for all.
Critical Emerging Issues
Local transmission cases
Statistics show that Covid-19 local transmission cases are on the rise. Our monitoring suggests that public spots and workplaces may have become hotspots for community transmission.
Long queues at banking halls have also become a cause for concern, as we have observed lack of physical distancing.
- We urge citizens to observe physical distancing as they meet and interact in public places such as banking halls.
- We continue to call for the strict implementation of public health safety protocols in the public transport system.
- We further recommend community mass and mobile testing of the general public.
Stigma and discrimination
Reports continue to increase of social stigma and discriminatory behaviours against people diagnosed with Covid-19 and those perceived to have been in contact with the virus, including health care personnel.
We note that stigma can undermine social cohesion and drive people to hide the illness in order to avoid discrimination. This may result in the disease likely spreading as people fail to seek immediate medical attention.
- We therefore recommend that stakeholders, community leaders and Government, intensify efforts in meaningfully engaging at the community level, with citizens, including people who have recovered from Covid-19, with their consent, to lead in increasing awareness and reducing stigma and discrimination.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe