399 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 1 May 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 38 260 after 3 new cases were reported, all are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Bulawayo which had 2 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 30th of April 2021 went down to 29 hospitalised cases, 6 asymptomatic case, 15 mild to moderate cases, 6 severe cases and 2 cases Intensive Care Units. We highlight gaps in provinces that did not report hospitalisation rates namely Midlands, Masvingo and UBH in Bulawayo. We note that the number of 3 new cases represents the number of lowest daily cases since 2021.
Active cases went down to 1 072. The total number of recoveries went up to 35 620, increasing by 8 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 93%. A total of 13 400 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 425 135. A total of 6 557 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 92 164. The death toll remains at 1 568 after no new deaths were recorded.
Critical emerging issue
1. Establishment of COVID-19 Virtual Hospital
We highlight the limitations of the Zimbabwe’s health sector which have been laid excruciatingly bare, by the COVID-19 pandemic. We note that the treatment and management of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe has largely been outsourced to individuals and in particular to women in communities, who have borne the burden of supporting the treatment and management of COVID-19 at home with limited or non-existent state health support throughout the duration of the pandemic.
We therefore place a spotlight on the announcement by Government of the Establishment of the Virtual Hospital which will provide virtual support to the patients with COVID-29 being treated and assisted by heath officials at home to cover an estimate of 10 000 to 20 000 home-based beds.
- As we await the revelation of the virtual hospital plans, we will continue to call upon the Government to ensure that rural communities are directly supported to access these care facilities and that home based care is resourced by the state.
- We will continue to urge Government to reveal economic measures to relive eh pressures of households bearing the costs of the pandemic and sting the capacity of households to recover economically.
2. Domestic Vaccine Equity and The Rights of Workers
We fully acknowledge and support the critical relationship and engagements between the Government and the private sector in escalating the provision of vaccines. We further commend further various efforts meant to expedite access to vaccines. We however continue to spotlight the risks of privatisation of vaccines. Vaccines are a critical essential lifesaving intervention which must be provided to all.
- We urge Government to recall that vaccine equity is therefore not only a matter of equitable access between nation states but also among citizens within a country hence the need to ensure equitable public access.
Further, we continue to critique the pressure that workers in both the public service and the private sector are facing the “soft pressure” to get vaccinated in a bid to secure their work status. We raise concerns of reports of workers who have been told that there are free to choose to be vaccinated or not, but essentially their working status or roles require them to take up the vaccine.
- We amplify our view that while citizens are indeed to be encouraged to get vaccinated, a “Jabs for Jobs” policy is completely untenable.
- We remind both the Government and Private sector that encouragement to get vaccinated goes beyond simply addressing the scourge of fake news, but also includes directly addressing issues pertaining to the vaccine mix available for citizens to select, and also the quality of the post vaccination monitoring and care available.
1. Slow pace of vaccination
Whilst we commend the vaccination of over four hundred thousand people, we continue to decry the slow pace of vaccination. We continue to point out that vaccination remains under 10% of the target vaccine population.
- We continue to urge expansion of vaccine centres to include mobile vaccination facilities and vaccines outpost at mass economic and social centres such as markets.
- We call for a vaccine outreach program that draws access to vaccines closer to communities.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)