387 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 19 April 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 37 859 after 108 new cases were reported, all are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Matebeleland South with 101 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 19th of April 2021 went up to 22 hospitalised cases, 0 asymptomatic cases, 14 mild to moderate cases, 5 severe cases and 3 cases Intensive Care Units. 4 of the country’s 10 provinces did not report their hospitalisation rates namely Midlands, Mashonaland Central, Masvingo and Matebeleland North, we note further Arundel hospital in Harare did not report as well. Active cases continue the upward trend by going up to 1 275. The total number of recoveries went up to 35 031, increasing by 12 recoveries. The recovery rate stands at 92.9%. A total of 1 985 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 280 568. A total of 560 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 36 423. The death toll remains at 1 553 as no death was recorded today.
Critical emerging issue
1. Long COVID-19 in Zimbabwe
Noting, with commendation, the high rate of recoveries in Zimbabwe, we call our medical communities and the public to increase awareness a “Long COVID” a phenomenon which has been described as experienced by both severe and mild COVID-19 patients who continue to experience negative health experiences weeks and months after they have been marked as recovered. We highlight, ongoing research findings, which indicate that Long-COVID-19 sufferers must receive support and increase the training of the healthcare workers of the phenomenon.
We further highlight, for critical attention medical sector reports that indicate that Long-COVID-19 has been found in persons who had not been tested or recorded as positive for COVID-19 initially and also in persons who had not been hospitalised at all.
- We call for the Ministry of Health and Child Care, through the COVID-19 Treatment and management Committee to update the nation on the tracing and treatment of patients with Long COVID-19 in Zimbabwe.
1. Inconsistencies in Hospitalisation Rate Reporting
We continue to highlight issues regarding consistency in reporting of the hospitalisation rates. Whilst we acknowledge that during the Independence break the rates reported for the 18th of April is so far the reporting rate that is inconsistent this long weekend. We draw attention to the fact that this is not the first time the reported rates have failed to represent the true picture of the hospitalisation situation across the country. The 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. We highlight that policy makers make informed decisions based on the best available data, and not bedevilled by such inconsistences. Real time implications of the readiness of the oxygen and COVID-19 treatment and management value chain are contingent upon the most accurate information consistently. We accordingly emphasize that in light of real concerns of potential surge in infections, this inconsistency cannot be ignored.
In addition, we note that the current rise in active cases is beginning to mirror the rise in active cases in the second wave of the outbreak in Zimbabwe and thus such should be considered an early warning indicator to Government and stakeholders.
- 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 and call for comprehensive measures for ensuring high levels of data quality and integrity.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe