300 days of the COVID Lockdown, and as at 22 January 2020, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases increased to 30 523, after 476 new cases were reported. All are local cases of which the highest case tally was recorded in Manicaland at 105. We note that the hospitalisations rate on the 22 January 2021 went down to 210 hospitalised cases, 179 mild to moderate cases, 81 severe cases and 20 cases in Intensive Care Units. Active cases, went down to 8 481, following 1 511 recoveries. The total number of recoveries therefore went up to 21 080. The recovery rate now stands at 69.1%. The death toll has risen to 962, after 45 new deaths were recorded.
The 18th day of the 2nd hard lockdown and we note the highest record of recoveries so far, which is 1 511. This is particularly encouraging and reassuring especially in a context where the past 7 days have not been easy given the high death rates the country has been recording. It would be highly beneficial for the citizens and communities at large if the Ministry of Health and Child Care could disseminate information on best practices for treating COVID-19 symptoms, including publicizing guidelines and the standing position on methods such as steaming “kunatira” and Zumbani tea. We do not believe a national COVID-19 treatment and management system can viably be based on notifications of what not to do without substantive guidance on what to do especially when hospital admissions and hospital treatment are mostly unavailable for communities.
Critical Emerging Issue
Social protection during lockdown
We continue to raise the urgent need for Government to ensure that the lockdown is supported with the prioritisation of livelihood support in communities. We are concerned with the silence or lack of public communication by the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Social Welfare regarding safety nets for vulnerable communities during this hard lockdown. We continue to amplify our concern that the majority of women in Zimbabwe and women-led households are facing the biggest impacts through food insecurity, income loss, and care-giving burdens. We therefore urge Government to expand social safety nets and offset economic impacts for COVID-19 and the subsequent hard lockdown. We further highlight that the lockdown can only be successful if citizens do not need to place themselves in danger as they seek to secure food, water and livelihood support. We underscore the fact that the inability of households to respect the lockdown is directly correlated to other persisting deprivation and insecurities they face on a day-to-day basis. The pandemic will continue to bedevil the nation especially if the measures to increase access to social economic goods and services, as part of strong social protection systems, are not implemented by Government.
- We therefore recommend that Government announces the direct distribution of basic commodities and food in communities similar to the subsidized mealie meal distribution program.
- We call for the expansion of the cash transfer support to vulnerable households and the direct increase of the amounts to support vulnerable households.
- We call for the provision of support for households who are no longer able to sustain themselves due to loss of livelihoods, especially women-led households.
Home-based care and the high number of community deaths
We note a higher rate of COVID-19 deaths being recorded in households of patients who have been receiving home-based care. We further note the limited numbers of COVID-19 patients admitted to health institutions. In Harare alone, out the 38 deaths that were recorded, 17 occurred within households. This brings to the fore discussions on home-based care and support systems needed to assist such households. Reports from our networks indicate the non-operation of isolation centres in areas such as Kwekwe, Kariba and Bulawayo. Given these challenges, we reiterate the need for the Ministry of Health and Child Care to officially communicate and publicize information regarding the state of isolation centres and hospitals throughout all Provinces and Districts of Zimbabwe.
- We urge Government to introduce and implement measures to support home-based carers and primary care-givers in order to ease their burden and to minimize further risk of transmission.
- We urge upscaling efforts on safe isolation centres that are not overcrowded and which also cater for the needs and rights of women such as the availability of sanitary aid and sexual and reproductive health services.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe