Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 248 – WCoZ Situation Report

248 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown and Zimbabwe moves from Level 4 to Level 1 lockdown. As of 1 December 2020, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases increased to 10 129, after 95 new cases were reported, all local cases.  Active cases went up to 1 209. The total number of recoveries now stands at 8 489, after 154 recoveries were recorded. The death toll goes up to 277 after one death recorded.

We highlight report from the second Zimbabwe Population-based HIV Impact Assessment survey (ZIMPHIA 2020), which was conducted between November 2019 and March 2020 led by the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) with various partners engaged and participating.  ZIMPHIA is a household-based national survey among adults (defined as individuals aged 15 years and older). We highlight that the ZIMPHIA 2020 methodology offered HIV counselling and testing with return of results to the participants and collected information about uptake of HIV care and treatment services. 

We note with commendation the ongoing progress towards achieving HIV epidemic control by 2030 in Zimbabwe.

90-90-90 which are treatment targets to help end the HIV epidemic The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) set the 90-90-90 targets with the aim that by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV would know their HIV status; 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection would receive sustained ART (Anti-Retroviral Treatment); and 90% of all people receiving ART would have Viral Load Suppression (VLS). 

We note particularly in regard to the HIV 90-90-90 targets Zimbabwe;

  • 86.8 % of adults living with HIV were aware of their status.
  • 97.0 % of those aware of their status were on antiretroviral treatment. 
  • 90.3 % of those on treatment, achieved viral load suppression.

We continue to raise concern regarding,

  • The rate of annual new HIV infections among adults in Zimbabwe is 0.38 percent (0.54 percent among women and 0.20 percent among men) or approximately 31,000 persons over a year. This is one person too many.
  • The prevalence of HIV among adults was 12.9 percent, which corresponds to approximately 1.23 million adults in Zimbabwe living with HIV in 2020. 
  • Generally, the survey reports that HIV prevalence is higher among women than men (15.3 percent vs. 10.2 percent).

We urge against complacency. We urge for sustainable efforts within the state itself to stop the spread of HIV within the country and to strengthen the effort to ensure equitable access to testing, counselling, treatment and support.

  • We call upon Government action to boost local production of Antiretroviral drugs,
  • We call upon measures to ensure that Zimbabwe ceases to have recurrent drug shortages and drug stock-outs.
  • We for measures to ensure strong actions against poverty, hunger, bad nutrition, do not erode effort to stem the progress made nationally 
  • We call for ongoing support to processes aimed at addressing HIV related stigma, discrimination and violence against women and girls.

Critical Emerging Issue

Re-opening of land borders

We note that yesterday, the country’s main ports of entry officially reopened to private passenger vehicles and pedestrians. We note that travellers have been undergoing strict COVID-19 health regulations. 

  • We urge strict enforcement for COVID-19 prevention and safety protocols to ensure accurate and early detection of potential cases at entry points.
  • We further urge health authorities  to ensure prioritisation of safety of all returnees by ensuring that the handling of returnees is conducted in a safe and expedient manner, without opening them up to a potential risk of  exposure to COVID-19.

Outstanding Issue 

Lack of Services at Harare Council Clinics 

We highlight the context of Council Clinics in Harare. We are concerned with the number of council clinics that are simply closed. We fully acknowledge the support being provided by various civic health organisations who are literally providing services in tents within council premises. We further acknowledge that civic organisation in the health sector are plugging a real gap in providing access to Anti-Retroviral Treatment, TB medication and Sexual and Reproductive health services.

  • We remain however concerned that the council clinics themselves are closed or are offering significantly reduces services.

We are alarmed that even basic services such as weighing of infants and immunisation programs are not practically accessible on the ground to infants.

We are completely dissatisfied with the fact that women have to continue to seek to raise inaccessible USD to pay for access to private health care clinics to get simply services like a monthly neonatal check-up. This is not okay.

We are further concerned by the criss-crossing that women have to undertake from one side of the Harare Metropolitan Provinces to the other-side of the same province to access basic health care and maternal services in a context of extremely limited and abusive public transport services. 

  • We call for urgent state driven interventions to address the above crisis in a manner the strongly reflects Government responsiveness to women directly in ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe

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