Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 465 – WCoZ Situation Report

465 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 6th of July 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 57 963 after 1 949 new cases all local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Harare at 226 cases. The hotspots updates are as follows; Mashonaland West Province- Kariba (17), Karoi (30), Chinhoyi (38) Chidamoyo (37), we note the absence of updates from Kasimure, and Nyamunga. Mashonaland Central – Guruve (44). We note the absence of updates from Centenary, Mt Darwin, Mazowe and Bindura. Mashonaland East – Marondera (54), Murehwa (46) we note the absence of updates from Goromonzi and Mutoko. Masvingo Province – Chiredzi (75), Masvingo (23) we note the absence of an update from Gutu, Zaka, Bikita and Mwenezi, Midlands Province – Kwekwe (51), we note the continued absence of an update on Gweru and Zvishavane. Bulawayo Province – Nkulumane (29), Emakhandeni (38) and Northern Suburbs (91), Harare 226. Inyathi and Banket Hospitals did not report, Masvingo Province also did not report.

We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 5th of the July 2021 was 487 hospitalised cases: 95 New Admissions, 54 Asymptomatic cases, 356 mild to moderate cases, 54 severe cases and 23 cases in Intensive Care Units.

Active cases went up to 14 400. The total number of recoveries went up to 41 624 increasing by 218 recoveries. The recovery rate went down, further to 72% from 74%. A total of 9 918 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 807 633.  A total of 3 213 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 574 934. The death toll went up to 1 939 after 19 new deaths were recorded.

COVID-19 infections continue to spiral and the number of cases recorded in a single day once more becomes the highest number recorded thus far at over 1949 cases in one day.  We urge policy makers to put shoulders to the wheel and escalate testing and tracing services, protect the healthcare sector aggressively and expand vaccination efforts rapidly.

We continue to call for the Government to publicize aggressively the screening symptoms for the Delta virus as these differ from the original virus and ensure the national hotlines have expanded capacity to assist communities to screen for COVID-19.

Critical emerging issues

Chaos at Vaccination Centres

We highlight once more the inability of the Vaccines centres to easily and equitably roll out an efficient and effective vaccination programme in particular, managing the high numbers of citizens who are expected to be processed at the centres.  We continue to highlight the incredible levels of congestion, queues and stampedes arising at vaccination centres in Gweru, Mutare, Harare, Norton and Bulawayo. Reports from our networks, further raise issues regarding, queues for the first doses of the vaccine and the poor management of the mass numbers of persons who are expected to take up the vaccines. It would appear the vaccine centres are inadequate, not fully prepared and their operations are not flexible to sustain the long term engagement of large numbers of the population.

Fully cognisant of the ten-day vaccination blitz that is due to be undertaken targeting various aspects of the population, we reiterate and insist on improved management systems to ensure the vaccination blitz does not fail to meet targets and further is undertaken with due regards to the right to human dignity, safety and security of persons. Noting that the desired target of vaccinations administered is 50 000 per day, the entire design of the vaccination centres and their capacity to engage large numbers of persons must be urgently addressed.

  • We urge the expansion of vaccination centres to manage increased patients points
  • We recommend an increase in mobile vaccination points and a systemic mass publication of vaccination centres including their operating hours, the vaccines available and the numbers of persons per day manageable by centres.
  • We call for the introduction of a booking systems for vaccines which will protect the frail, elderly and vulnerable 
  • We urge the adoption of enhanced queue management systems at all vaccination centres including separate queues for men, women, the elderly and the vulnerable.

Outstanding issues

COVID-19 home-based care crisis and the Establishment of a Virtual Hospital

We persist in highlighting the implications of Government stretched capacities and fragilities of the health sector by raising the implications and the reality that COVID-19 third wave once more will be carried by the burdens of communities and women in households directly. We continue to call out this crisis of care which is unrecognised, unresolved and unfunded.

We continue to highlight that appalling 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.

We therefore continue to place a spotlight on the announcement by Government of the Establishment of the Virtual Hospital on the 28 of April 2021 in which Cabinet directly laid out its intent as follows;

In a development set to revolutionise COVID-19 management, Cabinet adopted a proposal to set up a Virtual Hospital for the Management of COVID-19 patients.  This comes from the realisation that most COVID-19 patients recover without symptoms or after experiencing mild ones, which do not require hospitalisation.  Government will establish a provisional figure of Ten Thousand (10 000) to twenty thousand (20 000) home-based beds.  A network of health staff will carry out protocol-based monitoring and management of the cases.  The equipment support for this programme is as follows:

  1.  Rechargeable oxygen concentrators
  2. Finger pulse or saturation monitors
  3. Non-contact thermometers
  4. Blood glucose testing machines
  5. Blood pressure machines

The equipment will be deployed to the admitted patients and returned when the patient gets discharged.  The establishment of the Virtual Hospital will therefore alleviate the pressure on hospitals. The public will be kept abreast of developments in this regard.”

  • Accordingly, we continue to call upon Government to uphold its commitment to the nation, communities and women who are at the centre of the COVID-19 crisis to reveal the practical measures taken to deliver upon the virtual hospital and the timelines and expectations of when the service commitment by Government will be delivered.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)

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