Monitoring Government Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Update 22

Introduction

While the indefinite suspension of by-elections remains in force, the reporting period witnessed the holding of important political activities by various political parties, in anticipation of the eventual lifting of the suspension.

Throughout the lockdown period ZESN has been sharing reports from its Long Term Observers (LTOs) so as to inform policy makers and interventions of nonstate actors who seek to compliment government efforts to flatten the curve.

Ministry of Health Summary of Updates

The Ministry of Health and Child Care continues to provide updates on COVID-19 via its social media platforms and its official website. Such updates continued to be vital in informing interventions of both state and non-state actors.

COVID-19 update: As at 22 December 2020, Zimbabwe had 12 544 confirmed cases, including 10 159 recoveries and 326 deaths.

Summary of Findings

During the period that spans from the first of November to the twenty second of December 2020, ZESN received the following feedback from its Long Term Observers resident in the 210 National Assembly Constituencies.

Food Aid Distribution

Various state and non-state actors continue to come to the aid of vulnerable citizens who are food insecure in both the urban and rural communities. During the reporting period the following feedback was received from LTOs regarding the various food distribution efforts which the LTOs observed.

The Department of Social Welfare conducted food distribution in Chimanimani West, Buhera South, Lupane West, Nkayi North, Tsholotsho South, Mazowe Central, and Musikavanhu Constituencies. 50 kilogrammes (Kgs) of mealie meal were given to each of the beneficiaries who mainly comprised elderly or persons with disabilities. The department of Social Welfare also distributed COVID-19 relief funds valued at ZWL 600 per individual in GlenView North and ZWL 300 Kuwadzana Constituency.

Danish Church Aid provided support to vulnerable members of Mpopoma Pelandaba-Matshobana Constituency in the form of grocery vouchers redeemable at local supermarkets. In Buhera South constituency World Vision and CARITAS distributed cereals, beans and cooking oil in wards 28 and 29. In Marondera East and Central constituencies GOAL-Zimbabwe provided grocery vouchers to vulnerable households valued at 40 United States Dollars (USD) per household. World Vision distributed cereal, cooking oil and peas to Mudzi North residents who were jointly selected by the World Vision and Department of Social Welfare. World Vision also provided food hampers in ward 18 and 29 of Nkayi South which consisted of 50kgs of sorghum, 2 litres of cooking oil and 5kgs of beans.

The World Food Programme (WFP) provided COVID-19 financial assistance ranging from 70-300 USD depending on the size of the family, in Kwekwe Central Constituency.

In Mbire the Lower Guruve Development Association distributed some food hampers, while SAVE the Children Foundation distributed relief funds worth 30USD to individuals who benefited from the programme.

In Binga North Constituency, the International Red Cross distributed some food hampers to a number of schools. The hampers comprised beans, cooking oil, and maize meal.

There was also a report that ZANU-PF distributed food hampers in Gutu East constituency which consisted sorghum seed, millet, and fertiliser. The hampers were given to beneficiaries drawn from across the political lines.

Enforcement of Lockdown Regulations

Enforcement of COVID-19 regulations continues to contribute immensely to efforts to flatten the curve, as the majority of citizens in various parts of the country appear to comply with the stipulated health protocols out of fear of being arrested for contravening the same. This conclusion is based on reports from observers that indicate that compliance with health protocols was mainly done by citizens when venturing into spaces that they knew had an increased presence of police such as shopping centres and highways.

During the reporting period less number of uniformed forces were deployed to traffic road blocks and on enforcement related assignments. Nevertheless citizens not wearing face masks in public spaces continue to be arrested for contravening public health regulations.

There were reports that some members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police were heavy handed in their response to the surge in unregistered public transporters that are plying various urban and rural routes. Many of the reports indicate that the police were smashing the windows and windscreens of vehicles being used by the unregistered public transporters. The surge the number of informal traders selling their wares, and foodstuffs in undesignated trading places in various towns and cities continue to be reported.

The Municipal police continues to engage in running battles with vendors who try to resists arrest such reports were received from mainly LTOs resident in urban constituencies.

Impact of Covid-19 on the Health Sector

Access to antenatal and postnatal services, as well as essential medication remains a challenge at most public health institutions with some clinics offering a limited range of services and referring patients to larger referral hospitals for services that the clinics used to offer before the advent of COVID-19.

Nevertheless LTOs’ report an increase in the number of local clinics that have reopened. Such reports were received from Chitungwiza North and South, Dzivarasekwa, Zengeza East, Buhera West, Chipinge Central, Mutare Central, Njube-Lobengula Constituencies.

However, some clinics remain closed such as Braeside clinic and Kuwadzana Extension Clinic resulting in women seeking antenatal and postnatal services having to travel far to get medical assistance. Some go as far as Parirenyatwa Hospital, thus increasing the burden on this national referral hospital. Acute drug shortages at the majority of public health institutions was reported.

The situation was compounded by the limits being imposed by some clinics on the number of persons that can access certain services per day, for instance the clinic in Kuwadzana 3 suburb was limiting the number of women that can register for antenatal services to 10 per day.

As reported previously, the shortage of potable water persists in most urban and rural constituencies forcing residents to congregate in their numbers at most boreholes.

Read the full report here (818KB PDF)

Source: Zimbabwe Election Support Network

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