491 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 1st of August 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 109 564 after 686 new cases, all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Midlands with 172 cases. The hotspots updates are as follows: Mashonaland West Province – Hurungwe (14), Kariba (2), Makonde (42), Mashonaland Central – Bindura (15), Mazowe (5). Mashonaland East – Marondera (18), Murehwa (10). Masvingo Province – Gutu (10), Masvingo (15). Bulawayo Province – Nkulumane (16), Emakhandeni (19) and Northern Suburbs (26), Kwekwe (12), Harare Province (107).
We note that the Hospitalisation rate as of 15:00hrs on the 31st of July 2021 was 606 hospitalised cases: 130 New Admissions, 129 Asymptomatic cases, 372 mild-to-moderate cases, 81 severe cases and 24 cases in Intensive Care Units. (St Lukes, St Ruperts, Muzari, St Annes and Montagu did not report).
Active cases went down to 29 298. The total number of recoveries went up to 76 665 increasing by 809 recoveries. The recovery rate goes up marginally to 70% from 69%. A total of 8 513 people received their 1st dose of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 1 645 112. A total of 11 319 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 779 229. The death toll went up to 3 583 after 51 new deaths were recorded.
Critical Emerging Issues
Inconsistencies and Shortages of Vaccines
We raise concern at the inconsistencies of vaccines and shortages of vaccines at various vaccination centres. We are greatly concerned at continued reports of shortages of vaccines on the ground whilst deliveries of vaccines at the national level have been recently recorded.
We note with concern the slowing down of the vaccination programme at a time when the country is still in the vaccination blitz period and limited jabs are being administered. We are concerned about growing community reports indicating inconsistencies of vaccine supplies which may be undermining public efforts to secure vaccines. We note that the number of persons vaccinated daily is shifting on daily basis, thereby completely eroding the booking and tracking systems of individual vaccination centres. We, therefore, warn against such ineffectiveness and inefficiencies in the vaccination programme.
- We urge Government to address logistical and distribution problems pertaining to the vaccination program.
- We call for main/large scale vaccination centres to hold adequate supplies of vaccines for consistencies in numbers of persons processed per day.
- We call for rapid deliveries supported by public announcements at community and rural health-care centres to ensure that numbers of vaccines match numbers of persons being attended to at vaccination centres.
Increased Access to Vaccination Programme for Rural Communities
We amplify calls for the direct and deliberate expansion of the vaccine programme to rural communities. We note that whilst efforts to ensure rural healthcare centres have indeed been supported with access to vaccines, the progress has been simply too slow and low to make a significant impact in a pandemic whose hotspots have largely been rural in nature. We note that this has been making exacerbated socio-economic centres for rural communities targeting small scale agrarian producers have largely been weak, as raised in detail in prior reports.
We accordingly call the government to directly and effectively plug the gaps in the rural vaccination programme. We further raise an issue with the long distances to health care centres that communities reportedly have to travel in order to access the vaccination programme. In some instances, this has proven to be an obstacle to accessing vaccines by some rural communities. As such, while the current national vaccination programme is well known in rural communities, those same communities are being left behind in accessing the same.
- We reiterate our demand for vaccine equity within Zimbabwe.
- We call for prioritisation of communities of rural and peri-urban communities.
- We continue to recommend rolling out of mobile vaccine centres to provide direct support to communities.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)