446 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 17th of June 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 40 927 after 371 new cases were reported, (370 local and 1 returnee from South Africa). The highest case tally was recorded in Mashonaland West with 125 cases. Localised lockdown remains in effect in Kariba, Karoi and Kwekwe. The following areas are noted as COVID-19 hotspots namely; in Masvingo Province Masvingo District and Chiredzi, In Mash Central Province Mt Darwin, and in Bulawayo Province Nkulumane, Emakhandeni and Northern Suburbs, and finally in Mashonaland West Province Mhangura, Chinhoyi and Chidamoyo.
We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 16th of June 2021 were 108 hospitalised cases, 23 asymptomatic cases, 67 mild to moderate cases, 13 severe cases and 5 cases in Intensive Care Units. We note several Hospitals in, Mashonaland East, Midlands and Matebeleland South did not report today. Active cases go up to 2 171. The total number of recoveries went up to 37 075 increasing by 34 recoveries. The recovery rate goes down to 91% from 92%. A total of 1 554 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 698 953. A total of 3 660 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 427 134. The death toll goes up to 1 647 after 7 new deaths were recorded.
Critical emerging issues
WHO Africa warning on full blown third wave of COVID-19 in Africa
We highlight the challenges placed by the official report of the WHO today regarding the status of COVID-19 in Africa. We highlight in particular the overall positioning of the pandemic so as to support strengthened knowledge and behavioural adjustment of policy makers and communities at large within Zimbabwe. We note the that the current wave of the pandemic is reportedly being driven by the rapid spread of new variants of the virus and low vaccination rates.
We note with grave concern, the third wave in Zambia and South Africa our neighbours and closest trading partners along the North-South trade corridor who are experiencing sharp rises in infections, hospitalisations and increased deaths. We note further that Namibia, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have recorded the highest weekly infections thus far.
The Delta variant, first discovered in India, is now prevalent in 14 African countries including Zimbabwe. Against limited number of the population being fully vaccinated and less than 1% of the entire African population vaccinated, we stress that there is a pressing need for the Government of Zimbabwe to double efforts to both procure and speed up the vaccination drive.
We highlight the WHO Africa position that ‘Africa is in the midst of a full-blown third wave and that the sobering trajectory of surging cases should rouse everyone into urgent action.’
- We therefore reiterate the prioritisation of the safety of frontline workers, as this impacts on the country’s level of success and efficiency towards containment of the pandemic.
- We urge provision of adequate PPE and training of all frontline responders regarding handling of this ever-evolving COVID-19 virus, in order to minimize their risk of exposure.
- We urge Government to introduce and implement measures to support home-based carers and primary care-givers in order to ease their burden and minimize further risk of transmission.
- We urge up-scaling efforts on safe Isolation centres which are not overcrowded and also cater for the needs and rights of women such as the availability of sanitary aid and sexual and reproductive health services.
- We are concerned by the test and trace system in place to support the same communities in real time
- We urge Government to upscale community testing by ensuring mobile testing is undertaken in communities
Critical Outstanding Issue
Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in Children
We highlight the Humanitarian Report by UNICEF issued today, in particular we seek to draw attention to the results of the Nutrition Cluster, which is led UNICEF and co-led by GOAL which supports the strengthening of structures at national level and facilitates cluster coordination meetings, which are chaired by the Ministry of Health and Child Care since January 2021.
We note with concern that, screening for malnutrition in 32 priority Districts has continued with the following results for the period January to May 2021, that, an average of 230,219 children aged 6-59 months representing 55% of the number of children due to be screened in the selected district 16% / 3,641 children (2,003 girls and 1,638 boys) of the children presented with, and treated for, severe wasting.
We note that the resurgence of Severe Acute Malnutrition in Zimbabwe has been exacerbated by the negative implications on access to food and good nutrition for children brought about by COVID-19 restrictions and limited ameliorative programmes in real time for affected communities.
- Whilst we note the improvement of food security following the current on-going “bumper harvest”, we continue to call upon Government to step up efforts to provide support to communities in the 32 priority districts.
- We continue to call for Government to provide support to urban communities who are not able to secure agrarian support even during the harvest season to combat the rise hunger in urban communities.
- We continue to decry the very weak and appalling support systems to households in crisis, despite the presence of 2 cycles of budget surpluses including the current $9.5 billion budget surplus.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)