Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 476 – WCoZ Situation Report

476 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 17th of July 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 82 613 after 1 445 new cases were recorded, all local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Harare Mashonaland West at 339 cases. The hotspots updates are as follows; Mashonaland West Province – Hurungwe (48), Chegutu (68), Sanyati (44). Mashonaland Central – Guruve (27), Mazowe (21). Mashonaland East-Marondera (145), Murehwa (26). Masvingo Province – Bikita (24) Masvingo (27). Midlands Province – Kwekwe (29). Bulawayo Province – Nkulumane (35), Emakhandeni (45) and Northern Suburbs (70), Harare Province (107).

We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 16th of the July 2021 was 798 hospitalised cases: 138 New Admissions, 313 Asymptomatic cases, 414 mild-to-moderate cases, 50 severe cases and 21 cases in Intensive Care Units.

Active cases went up to 28 102. The total number of recoveries went up to 51 932 increasing by 784 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 63%. A total of 36 043 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 1 132 045. A total of 3 651 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 639 389. The death toll went up to 2 588 after 68 new deaths were recorded.

Critical Emerging Issues

Lost in Translation: Vaccination Support for Small-scale farmers.

We note that the COVID-19 surge presently being experienced reflects an increase in cases in rural communities and amongst them small-scale farmers who are categorised as essential services. Further noting that this category may has been traveling relatively unchecked, congregating, and congesting trading floors, grain depots and collection points, we highlighted the prudence to increase access to vaccination to these communities. As we commended the expansion of vaccination centres to include grain depots, trading floors and collecting points, we were concerned by the setting in place an operational ban on farmers seeking to access these critical spaces without proof of vaccination.

However, we note that Government operationally misunderstood the targeting and the need to provide additional vaccination points to be responsive to the largest groups of citizens. We were unsurprised therefore when the subsequent congestion at these critical points made operations unbearable and Government removed the said requirement.

As such, we continue to call for depots, collection points and trading floors to be included as part of the expanded vaccination centres due to their day-to-day connectivity to small scale-farmers.

We reiterate that rural communities within the agricultural sector are critical to ensuring vaccine equity within Zimbabwe itself.

The misdirection on the policy of vaccination in this regard, therefore, has not addressed the problem which once again risks infringing unduly on rights of workers as opposed to expand rights for those have limited opportunities to enjoy them. The mandatory vaccination of GMB workers is a point in question.

  • We urge Government to resist mandatory vaccination and rather expand vaccination opportunities to those ready and willing to partake of the same. 
  • We call for the exercise of restraint within the public service para-statals and to review their operations prior to imposing mandatory vaccination for employees. We continue to urge increase opportunities, knowledge, and support for those seeking to access vaccination.

Outstanding issues

Quality of Care of COVID-19 Patients

We highlight growing reports from communities regarding the poor quality of care being presently availed to COVID-19 patients in hospitals in some instances. 

We fully recognise the dire straits faced by frontline workers who are continuing to provide critical life-saving services whilst at great risk due to severe shortages of PPE and other supportive equipment.

Further, we remain highly aware of the limitations of the health care centres which are housing the provision of services amid significant infrastructure deficits and limitations in medical stocks and supplies.

However;

  • We remind the Government, and all health service centres to respect and uphold the Zimbabwe Patients Charter.
  • We call upon the Government to escalate the provision of PPEs and other critical supplies to health centres buckling under the stain of increased hospitalisations.

We call upon the Government to engage in sustainable dialogue with the workers in the sector to address long outstanding issues

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)