219 days of COVID-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, as of 2 November 2020, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases increased to 8 389 after 15 new cases were reported. Active cases went down to 205. The total number of recoveries now stands at 7 939 after 12 new recoveries were recorded. The death toll now stands at 245.
We note the outbreak of Typhoid in Budiriro and Glenview. We are concerned that the water crisis currently occurring in the country is a major driver of health hazards such as this one. We note that not so long ago, another outbreak was recorded in Bulawayo, which resulted in a number of lives being lost.
We highlight the outbreak of diarrhoea with a recorded 2,600 cases since June 2020 and 600 cases in the past month alone according to health service figures. We further note with distress, that the majority of cases recorded are among children under the age of five years old.
We highlight with distress the deterioration of the quality of life in sanitation deprived communities and in particular reports of Bulawayo communities harvesting water from sewers in desperation.
We continue to urge Government and other stakeholders to implement comprehensive measures to address the water crisis.
- We urge the Courts to strengthen the justiciability of socio-economic rights as they are intrinsically linked to civil and political rights in particular the right to life.
- In addition, we urge the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to closely monitor and investigate the status of the right to water vis-a-vis, the water crisis currently obtaining in the country.
We amplify the alarming reports of a growing and thriving market to supply counterfeit travel vaccination.
We highlight the efforts undertaken by the Government of Zimbabwe, the WHO and local private sector partners to develop and launch a COVID-19 certification verification process at which has since verified 1500 COVID-19 certificates since April 2020.
- We urge the expansion and strengthening of such initiatives to secure the security of COVID-19 trustworthiness as Zimbabwe heads towards a reopening of Borders on the 1st of December 2020.
We note the Cabinet announcement that Land Borders will be opened in a phased approach on the 1st of December 2020. We note that the identified land borders due to opening for passenger traffic are namely, beginning with Beitbridge, Plumtree, Victoria Falls, Chirundu, Nyamapanda and Forbes border posts.
- We urge the Government to ensure smooth coordinated adequate and appropriate administrative and operational preparedness to ensure no undue hardship are places on citizens who are scheduled to travel to alleviate socio-economic constraints created by the disruption of travel and supply lines due to COVID 19 lockdowns.
- Whilst we note that the only traffic to be permitted across border besides commercial traffic is passenger vehicles, we call upon the Government to ensure the balanced opening of borders to indigent and poor communities who rely on cross border trade and travel for their lives and livelihoods.
Critical Emerging Issue
Health workers withdrawal of Labour
We note reports indicating the withdrawal of labour by Nurses. Concerned that these developments are taking place at a time when the Nation is grappling with various health challenges, including the recent typhoid outbreak in Zimbabwe. We are concerned that these developments directly affect the women of Zimbabwe and their enjoyment of the constitutional right to health. Aware that these challenges are further compounded by the severe shortages of critical medication in hospitals and unavailability of critical medical equipment
- We urge a prompt dialogue and consensus between Government and the Health sector in arriving at solutions to ensure the progressive realisation of the right to health without any impediments.
Safeguarding women’s and girls’ rights in the time of COVID-19
We continue to bring to the fore, safeguarding women’s and girls’ rights, during COVID-19. This is anchored on the adequate representation of women in decision-making positions 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 various COVID-19 structures. 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.
- Inclusion of more women’s rights organisations in the taskforce teams.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe