Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 493 – WCoZ Situation Report

493 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 3nd of August 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 112 435 after 1 580 new cases, were recorded, all new cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Mashonaland East with 221 cases. The hotspot updates are as follows; Mashonaland West Province – Hurungwe (33), Kariba (4), Makonde (45), Mashonaland Central – Bindura (19), Guruve (20). Mashonaland East- Marondera (46), Goromonzi (29). Masvingo Province – Chiredzi (32), Masvingo (27). Bulawayo Province – Nkulumane (16), Emakhandeni (19) and Northern Suburbs (26), Kwekwe (12), Harare Province (335).

We note that the Hospitalisation rate as of 1500hrs on the 1st of August 2021 was 558 hospitalised cases: 43 new admissions, 164 asymptomatic cases, 321 mild-to-moderate cases, 52 severe cases and 21 cases in Intensive Care Units.

Active cases went down to 27 189. The total number of recoveries went up to 81 570 increasing by 2 150 recoveries. The recovery rate goes up marginally to 73% from 72%. A total of 32 961 people received their 1st dose of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 1 707 671. A total of 34 004 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 798 880. The death toll went up to 3 676 after 41 new deaths were recorded. 

We note Cabinet’s approval of the vaccination programme to private hospitals and private clinics in order to support Government efforts. We also note the directive that the vaccines are to remain free of charge, while the institution may claim injection costs. While we commend measures to augment the vaccination programme through the private sector, we reiterate our calls that such vaccines should be accessible and affordable to all citizens including those in rural and remote areas. We continue to caution against vaccine inequity. We further recommend strengthening internal control systems at all vaccination centres.  

Critical Emerging Issues

Support to vaccinated persons reporting difficulties with adverse effects 

We note with concern the poor levels of support of vaccinated persons reporting reactions to the vaccine that are difficult to understand and to cope with. We are concerned by the lack of support and substantively question the ability of the Government to track and monitor persons who have been vaccinated going through adverse effects. We are even more concerned by growing community reports that indicate that even when persons arrive at the second jab and report the side effects, the health care personnel do not respond or engage the vaccine candidate on this matter, leaving patients out in the cold. 

We are concerned about the reports of the side effects as some of them are very severe and have significant negative health effects that are going unaddressed and unsupported. 

  • We call for support to citizens who have side effects at the actual vaccine centres. 
  • We call for change in protocols for administration of the second jab to persons reporting significant adverse effects for the vaccine.
  • We call for publication of treatment and management protocols for expected side effects. 

Socio-economic impacts of COVID-19

We continue to amplify our concern on the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, particularly that the majority of women in Zimbabwe and women-led households are facing the biggest impacts in food security, income loss, and caregiving burdens. We emphasize the need for prioritization of women’s access to social safety nets during COVID-19, taking due cognisance of the fact that a majority of women in the informal sector, such as the cross-border traders, have suffered severe loss of livelihood due to the many lockdowns imposed since March 2020.

  • We continue to recommend that Government announces the direct distribution of basic commodities and food in communities similar to the subsidized mealie meal distribution program. 
  • We continue to call for the resuscitation of the COVID-19 support scheme. 
  • We call for the adequate funding of the National Social Protection Policy Framework.
  • We therefore urge Government to expand social safety nets and offset economic impacts for COVID-19.
  • We reinforce our calls for the provision of support for households who are no longer able to sustain themselves due to loss of livelihoods, especially women-led households.

Outstanding issues

Call for volunteers to support the vaccination program 

We amplify calls for a direct policy to expand the vaccination program by identifying and supporting the volunteers across the country to support the vaccination drive. We continue to note real-time gaps in the vaccination drive that have a direct impact on the number of persons getting jabs. 

We are concerned about the strain under which all health care centres are presently under as the hospitalisation rate remains very high. 

We note the need to both support the health care sector whilst also ramping up vaccination in terms of human resources and logistics. 

  • We call for government to develop a policy on volunteers to support the vaccination program. 
  • We call for rapid onboarding of the volunteers so that the right numbers of personnel are there at the right centres and at the right time.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)

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