Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 494 – WCoZ Situation Report

494 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 4th of August 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 113 526 after 1 091 new cases were recorded, all local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Mashonaland East with 188 cases. The hotspots updates are as follows: Mashonaland West Province – Hurungwe (24), Kariba (3), Makonde (16), Mashonaland Central – Bindura (13), Mazowe (16). Mashonaland East – Marondera (50), Murehwa (43). Masvingo Province – Chiredzi (9), Masvingo (26), Midlands Province – Kwekwe (12), Harare Province (170).

We note that the Hospitalisation rate as of 15:00hrs on the 2nd of August 2021 was 551 hospitalised cases: 63 new admissions, 117 asymptomatic cases, 353 mild-to-moderate cases, 60 severe cases and 21 cases in Intensive Care Units.

Active cases went down to 26 821. The total number of recoveries went up to 82 994 increasing by 1 424 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 73%. A total of 32 927 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 1 740 598. A total of 30 783 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 863 667. The death toll went up to 3 711 after 35 new deaths were recorded. 

We note the approval for emergency use granted to the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in Zimbabwe and await details on modalities of distribution and access. We continue to commend the expansion of the vaccine mix available in Zimbabwe particularly in the context of the mandatory vaccination policy drive being affected. Communities and individuals have a right to have options and to be fully aware of the information regarding the options available, prior to making a decision to seek vaccination. 

Critical Emerging Issues

Delays and inefficiencies in policy implementation 

We commend the support to the National University of Science and technology (NUST) to procure equipment to enable the University to begin to manufacture PCR testing kits and reagents for COVID-19, as well as other tests including HIV. We commend the Applied Genetics Testing Centre of NUST for the initiative which reportedly will contribute significantly to the reduction of tests kit costs in the country. It has been reported that anticipated costs are expected to drop by USD$40 as they will be on the market at about USD$20 versus a current market value of USD$60. 

  • Whilst we commend the initiative, we note that this matter has been on the COVID-19 response program for Zimbabwe for a while and as such we continue to call for prioritisation and expedition of government processes to ensure the highest levels of efficacy and efficiency in governance processes. 
  • We continue to call for direct efforts to reduce the lag time between policy announcements and implementation of the same. 

Outstanding 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 vaccines that are difficult to understand and to cope with. We are concerned by the lack of support and as such, 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 accessible support by citizens who have side effects at the actual vaccine centres. 
  • We urge a change in protocols for administration of the second jab to persons reporting significant adverse effects for the vaccine.
  • We reiterate our calls for publication of treatment and management protocols for to be expected side effects.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)

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