401 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 3 May 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 38 293 after 12 new cases were reported, all are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Matebeland South and Harare which both 3 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 2 May 2021 were 24 hospitalised cases, 0 asymptomatic case, 16 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.
Active cases went down to 1 073. The total number of recoveries went up to 35 647, increasing by 13 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 93%. A total of 7 683 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 437 751. A total of 5 634 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 99 765. The death toll remains at 1 573 after 3 deaths were recorded to day.
We note with commendation, the capacity building and training of Provincial Education and Health focal teams to ensure effective COVID-19 response in schools. This is a critical step in directly strengthening the COVID-9 surveillance system operational in schools right now to seek to step the rise of COVID-19.
- We continue to call for the strengthening operations, in particular the testing and tracing capacity of healthcare staff in non-metropolitan provinces.
We further acknowledge efforts by the Ministry of Health and Child Care to expand awareness on the COVID-19 vaccination programme through medical outreach programmes in areas such as Dangamvura, Mutare. We recommend cascading such outreach initiatives to rural constituencies and other hard to reach areas, in order to cater for marginalized populations.
- We continue to call for mass expansion of non-static vaccination programs and for the vaccines to be administered in socio-economic community centres as opposed to health centres.
Critical emerging issue
1. Vaccine Mix
We continue to raise concerns regarding the available vaccine mix in Zimbabwe. We continue to question the procurement of vaccines which currently does not include PfizerBiotech, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccines. Whilst we fully acknowledge that vaccine procurement will be guided by the cold storage chain that Zimbabwe can sustain, effectively minimising the chances of the PfizerBiotech and Moderna vaccines within viability for mass vaccination in Zimbabwe we will continue to challenge the lack of availability of the AstraZeneca vaccine which has WHO Emergency Use Authorisation versus vaccines whose WHO Emergency Use authorisation is still outstanding. This vaccines availability in Zimbabwe was due to be supported by the COVAX facility which has not materialised thus far. We also note that certain communities have been given the option to request the administration of specific vaccines.
- We raise the point of vaccine equity, in that with the right set of accurate information, all citizens have the right to choose which vaccine they prefer to receive. Accordingly, we continue to raise the point that citizens have a right to elect which vaccines are best for them including even during vaccine procurement which can be ably guided by the local scientific community.
- We continue to question why several of the local vaccines are yet to secure WHO Emergency Use clearance and these are the vaccines available locally.
1. Socio-economic impacts of COVID-19
We continue to amplify our concern on the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 particularly that the majority of women in Zimbabwe and women-led households are facing the biggest impacts 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, taking due cognisance of the fact that a majority of women in the informal sector, such as the cross-border traders, have suffered severe loss of livelihoods. While noting the announcement over 2 months ago, regarding the increase for the amount to be distributed to beneficiaries of the Cash Transfer System for vulnerable persons in COVID-19 from ZWL$300 to ZWL1500, we are concerned that the disbursements have not yet been distributed to beneficiaries.
We commend the efforts of Parliament to exercise oversight on this matter through the response of undertaking a set of public consultations on the various social benefit programs which were meant to provide real support to those vulnerable and those made vulnerable by the COVID-29 pandemic.
- We continue to recommend that Government announces the direct distribution of basic commodities and food in communities similar to the subsidized mealie meal distribution program.
- We recommend the expedition of the distribution of cash transfers to beneficiaries.
- We call for the adequate funding of National Social Protection Policy Framework.
- We therefore urge Government to expand social safety nets and offset economic impacts for COVID-19.
- We reinforce our calls for the provision of support for households who are no longer able to sustain themselves due to loss of livelihoods, especially women-led households.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe