379 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 11 April 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 37 288 after 15 new cases were reported, all are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Bulawayo with 7 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 10th of April 2021 went down to 4 hospitalised cases, 4 asymptomatic cases, 0 mild to moderate cases, 0 severe cases and 0 cases Intensive Care Units. Active cases went up to 877. The total number of recoveries went up to 34 873, increasing by 11 recoveries. The recovery rate goes down marginally to 93.5%. A total of 658 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 194 594. A total of 101 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 28 898. The death toll remains at 1 538.
Critical emerging issue
1. Hospitalisation Rate Reporting
We note that only 4 provinces out of 10 provinces in Zimbabwe, (Manicaland, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East and Matebeleland South) reported their hospitalisation rates on the 10th of April 2021, meaning the majority of the provinces (6 out of 10) Bulawayo, Midlands, Mashonaland West, Masvingo and Matebeleland North and Harare, remain outstanding.
We are concerned to note that this a growing trend wherein the hospitalisation reports have failed to represent the true picture of the hospitalisation rate across the country. We underscore the harsh truth that such persisting inconsistencies have significant ramifications as they not only affect data quality but the level of preparedness and capacity of the nation to respond to the surge. It is crucial for Policy makers to make decision informed by the best available data. There are real time implications of the readiness of the oxygen and COVID-19 treatment and management value chain which must be supported with the best most accurate information consistently. We further emphasize that the health system data must be consistently reliable, not only when there is a national spotlight. In light of real concerns of potential surge in infections, this inconsistency cannot be ignored.
- We continue to draw the attention of the leadership of the National Inter Ministerial Team on COVID-19, the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Parliament of Zimbabwe to the inconsistencies in reporting and data.
- We continue to raise issues regarding the internal system in the health sector that are highlighted by the deficiencies in reportage. Lastly, we continue to raise issues for maintaining high levels of data quality and integrity.
1. Ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks in Schools
We highlight the testing and tracing of educational communities surrounding schools in Matebeleland South. We note the tracing of COVID-19 to Sacred Heart, Mzilikazi Schools, Girls College, Falcon College, and Primary Schools in Umzingwane District.
- We continue to urge the Provincial heads of COVID-19 Task Teams in other provinces to expand their testing and tracking of COVID-19 in schools to ensure early tracking and stronger infection control systems to stop the possible onset of the 3rd wave.
We commend the actions of the schools to test and trace pupils to support infection control efforts. We decry the lack of testing in public schools and in rural communities. It is grossly inappropriate for the public surveillance system to rely on the pockets of parents who are financially stretched to track and trace COVID-19.
- We call for support to testing and tracing of COVID-19 in public schools.
- We call for direct efforts to fund the testing of students and staff in public boarding schools and in community schools to stem the potential super spreader potential of infections in schools.
- We continue to remind the Government that vaccination is not a substitute for infection control.
We sincerely hope that COVID-19 surveillance systems are as robust as the ones in operation in Matabeleland South.
We note that this province similarly traced outbreaks pre December 2020 with similar vigilance. We urge the other provinces to exercise the highest levels of vigilance and protect learners and learning institutions from wide spread outbreaks of COVID-19.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe