346 days of the COVID-19 lockdown, and as of 9 March 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases has increased to 36 321, after 32 new cases were reported. All cases are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Harare with 10 cases. We note that the hospitalisation rate as of 1500hrs on the 8th of March 2021 went up to 137 hospitalised cases, 70 asymptomatic cases, 30 mild to moderate cases, 24 severe cases and 13 cases in Intensive Care Units. Active cases went down to 913 as the total number of recoveries went up to 33 919, increasing by 47 recoveries. The recovery rate now stands at 93.4%. A total of 243 frontline workers were vaccinated, bringing the cumulative number of the vaccinated to 35 761. The death toll has gone up to 1 489 after 2 new deaths were recorded.
Critical emerging issue
Social Protection during lockdown
We continue to amplify our concern that the majority of women in Zimbabwe and women-led households are facing the biggest impact in food security, income loss, and care-giving burdens. We emphasize the need for prioritization of women’s access to social safety nets during COVID-19.
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, as communities will continue to defy Regulations in pursuit of livelihoods and income. 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 adequate funding of the National Social Protection Policy Framework.
- We therefore urge Government to expand social safety nets and offset economic impacts for COVID-19.
- 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.
Equality and participation in COVID-19 decision-making positions
We note a big structural gender imbalance problem within the COVID-19 taskforce structures at District, Provincial and National levels. Statistics indicate that very few women have been included in the COVID-19 response leadership structures. Research in Zimbabwe and the world over, has underscored the fact that, although women have been on the frontlines of COVID-19 as first responders, health providers, primary care-givers and engagers with communities, their meaningful representation in policy development and decision making on COVID-19 has remained limited. The effects of poor women’s representation in the COVID-19 structures have manifested in Government’s and decision-makers’ failures to adequately respond to the specific needs of women and girls during COVID-19, e.g in Quarantine and isolation centres. Moreover, this has also led to the failure by decision-makers in the Taskforces to collect sex-disaggregated data, in order to inform policies and gender sensitive policies on COVID-19. We therefore call for:
- Implementation of Constitutional provisions, particularly, sections 17, 56 and 80, which speak to gender balance, and equality in representation in all spheres of the Zimbabwe society. This includes COVID-19 Taskforce and Response groups at all levels.
- Urgent publication of analysed sex and age disaggregated data by Government on the composition of the COVID-19 taskforce teams throughout the country.
- Establishment of Gender Advisory Experts at all levels of the National COVID-19 Response Structures.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe