393 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 26 April 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 38 086 after 22 new cases were reported, all are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Bulawayo which had 10 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 24th of April 2021 went down to 22 hospitalised cases, 12 asymptomatic case, 10 mild to moderate cases, 0 severe cases and 0 cases Intensive Care Units. 7 of the country’s 10 provinces did not report today namely Harare, Manicaland, Masvingo, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central.
Active cases went down to 1 406. The total number of recoveries went up to 35 123, increasing by 22 recoveries. The recovery rate went down marginally to 92.2%. A total of 12 112 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 336 600. A total of 5 807 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 53 418. The death toll goes up to 1 557 after 1 death was recorded.
We draw attention to pertinent issues in COVID-19 in Zimbabwe at present. In the current context of limited controls still prevalent in real terms in Zimbabwe’s COVID-19 measures, and persisting COVID-19 fatigue, we remind both Government and citizens alike that.
- We are running a race against infection control.
- We are running a race to meet vaccines targets.
- We are running a race against vaccine variants.
Critical emerging issue
1. Vaccination versus COVID-19 infection control measures
We highlight to the public that current evidence shows that the existing COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing disease, however the global science community is clear that there is still great uncertainty if vaccines can prevent people from becoming infected with the virus.
We remind citizens that being vaccinated will stop the vaccine recipient from getting sick but will not stop the vaccine recipient from passing the virus onto others.
- Once again, we call for those vaccinated and those considering getting vaccinated that the rules apply to them as well. Persons who have been vaccinated must wash hands, wear masks properly, and keep their distance from others
Whilst fully aware that no vaccine is 100% effective yet.
- We highlight remaining scientific uncertainties about how the vaccines work in specific age groups such as children, and how effective they are against emerging variants of the virus.
- We continue to call for adherence to physical distancing, wearing of facemasks and regular temperature checks by businesses both formal and informal.
- We call for enforcement agents to strengthen efforts to ensure adherence to COVID-19 prevention measures whilst fully respecting the constitutional rights of citizens in the execution of their duties.
- We urge citizens to observe public health guidelines as they meet and interact in public places for social and economic activities.
- We continue to call for the strict implementation of public health safety protocols in the public transport system.
2. Inconsistencies in Hospitalisation Rate Reporting
We continue to highlight issues regarding consistency in reporting of the hospitalisation rates. We draw attention to the fact that hospitalisation rates continue to fall short of the full representation of the true picture of the hospitalisation rate 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 considering 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.
- We continue to raise issues regarding the internal system in the health sector that are highlighted by the deficiencies in reportage, secondly, we continue to raise issues for maintaining high levels of data quality and integrity.
- We highlight the real increases in active cases that require the health system to gear up and be prepared for a potential rise in hospitalisation, including down-stream industries such the oxygen supply sector which has persistently fallen behind in supplies of oxygen.
1. Home-based Care
We continue to note a higher number of active COVID-19 cases which are currently being managed at home, as compared to the hospitalised cases.
We therefore highlight our concerns on home-based care and lack of the support systems to assist such households. Reports from our networks indicate the non-operation of isolation centres in areas such as Kwekwe.
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 caregivers to ease their burden and to minimize further risk of transmission.
- We urge up-scaling efforts on safe Isolation centres which are not overcrowded 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