313 days of the COVID-19 lockdown, and as of 4 February 2020, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases increased to 34 171 after 207 new cases were reported. All are local cases of which the highest case tally was recorded in Bulawayo at 58 cases. We note that the hospitalisation rate on the 3rd February 2021 went down to 171 hospitalised cases, 89 mild to moderate cases, 59 severe cases and 13 cases in Intensive Care Units. Active cases went down to 5 124 as the total number of recoveries went up to 27 759 following a continued increase in recoveries by 368 recoveries. The recovery rate continues to increase, with the latest being 81.2%. The death toll has risen to 1 288 after 19 new deaths were recorded.
The 29th day of the 2nd hard lockdown and we continue to urge prioritisation of women’s and girls’ rights during COVID-19. We urge Government to activate the request to our National Vaccine Advisory Committee to evaluate and provide scientific based recommendations on vaccines candidates beyond those being offered in the COVAX vaccines facility. In particular, the vaccines that are being donated are secured under bilateral arrangements which may include the Sputnik vaccines and the Sinopharm vaccine among other vaccine candidates.
We emphasize the need to step up vigilance and strengthening of the violence against women and girls’ national response systems. We remain concerned by the persisting current weak state coordination and collaboration to ensure that violence against women and girls is funded by Treasury and responded to directly, expansively and rapidly by government.
Critical Emerging Issue
Funding modalities for COVID-19
We note with concern the discrepancies in the public domain regarding the funding by Treasury to securing COVID-19 Vaccines. We note the announcement by Government that it has managed to mobilise USD 100 million to support the procurement of 20 million doses for the COVID-19 vaccination to vaccinate 10 million people approximately 60% of the Zimbabwean population to meet herd immunity targets. However, we also note the remarks by the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Mangwiro, who in a Live interview on ZTN on the 4th of February 2021, remarked that Treasury was marshalling “about USD 25 million” to support the procurement of the vaccines.
- We call upon government to clarify exactly how much Treasury is committing to spending and the exact amounts marshalled by development partners and the types of funding arrangements being entered into to secure access to vaccines.
National Plan for COVID-19 Vaccines Deployment
We further note the finalisation of the National Plan for COVID-19 vaccination. However, we remain concerned at the announcement of the existence of the plan which remains to be publicised. Additionally, we note with concern that key health sector institutions do not seem to be aware of the plan at such a late hour.
- We call upon Government to make public the COVID-19 vaccine plan, as opposed to only elements of the plan.
- We call for the Government to urgently advise the nation of the stages of access to be anticipated in securing the vaccines in real terms.
Social protection during lockdown
We continue to amplify our concern that the majority of women in Zimbabwe and women-led households are most impacted by food security, income loss, and caregiving burdens. We emphasize the need for prioritization of women’s access to social safety nets during COVID-19 and the hard lockdown. We 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 therefore urge Government to expand social safety nets and offset economic impacts for COVID-19 and the subsequent hard lockdown.
- 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.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe