408 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 10 May 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 38 433 after 14 new cases were reported, all are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Harare which had 5 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 9th of May 2021 were 24 hospitalised cases, 3 asymptomatic case, 14 mild to moderate cases, 6 severe cases and 1 case Intensive Care Units. We highlight gaps in provinces that did not report hospitalisation rates namely Matabeleland South, Mashonaland West, Manicaland and Wilkins, St Anne’s, and Arundel hospitals in Harare. Active cases remain at 649. The total number of recoveries went up to 36 208, increasing by 145 recoveries. The recovery rate goes up marginally to 94.2%. A total of 3 294 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 526 360. A total of 3 116 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 161 293. The death toll remains at 1 576 after no new death were recorded.
Critical emerging issue
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 at home with limited to 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 in 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 reinforce our recommendation for Government to reveal economic measures to relieve the pressures of households bearing the costs of the pandemic and support the capacity of households to recover economically.
Urban Families Facing Compounded Stress with Rise in Cost of Living
We highlight ZIMSTAT reports indicating the financial and distress of most urban families in Zimbabwe who are anticipated to remain in financial doldrums due to skyrocketing cost of living. We note that the as of March 2021 the cost of living stood at ZWL$26 560 (US$320) for a family of five for March, which is higher than what the lowest paid civil servant earns at ZW$17 000 (US$205) per month. We highlight FEWS NET reports that raise that the skyrocketing cost of living is significant in a context where the majority of Zimbabwean earn their living in the informal sector. We highlight that families in urban communities are projected to remain stressed as poor households may meet their basic food needs but fail to meet their other non-food needs. We highlight further that “Despite the progressive decline in annual inflation since mid-2020, the official inflation rate remains very high at 194% in April. This is driving a continuous increase to the cost of living, leaving a high proportion of the population subsisting below the poverty lines”. This is supported by the ZIMSTAT reports which indicated a 1,7% and 6,8% increase in the food poverty line and total consumption poverty lines, respectively, for April compared to March” Accordingly we draw attention of the Government that even as inflation declines the cost-of-living is actually increasing through fuel price increases and high parallel market exchange rates which continue to drive general price increases compounded by high and increasing transport fares which continue to negatively impact household access to markets. Accordingly, the reports notes that contrary to general economic perspectives the macro-economy was volatile negatively impacting household food access.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)