Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 497 – WCoZ Situation Report

497 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 7th of August 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 115 890 after 445 new cases were recorded, all local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Mashonaland East with 80 cases. The hotspots updates are as follows: Mashonaland West Province – Hurungwe (4), Kariba (6), Makonde (4), Mashonaland Central – Bindura (5), Mazowe (4). Mashonaland East – Marondera (30), Mutoko (12). Masvingo Province – Chiredzi (25), Masvingo (11), Midlands Province – Kwekwe (4), and Harare Province did not report at the time of publication.

We note that the Hospitalisation rate as of 15:00hrs on the 6 of August 2021 was 578 hospitalised cases: 55 new admissions, 84 asymptomatic cases, 382 mild-to-moderate cases, 96 severe cases and 16 cases in Intensive Care Units. (St Anne’s and Montague did not report). 

Active cases went down to 24 648. The total number of recoveries went up to 87 416 increasing by 890 recoveries. The recovery rate goes up marginally to 75% from 74%. A total of 33 809 people received their 1st dose of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 1 851 407. A total of 35 589 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 1 002 261. The death toll went up to 3 826 after 21 new deaths were recorded. 

We commend the communities of Zimbabwe and the Government for reaching the milestone of over 1 million persons being fully vaccinated. We note the milestone with commendation and call for the expedition of vaccination of the remaining millions as well as accelerated measures to remove the barriers and burdens characterised by the vaccination program thus far. 

Critical Emerging Issues

Inconsistencies and Shortages of Vaccines 

We continue to 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 national have been recorded. We remind the government that the nation is still not meeting the (50) fifty thousand vaccination per day target of the national vaccine program. We note the vaccination program is still under the vaccination blitz period and limited jabs are being administered on a daily basis. We are concerned about growing community reports indicating inconsistencies in vaccine supplies. Therefore, such inconsistencies are particularly undermining public efforts to secure vaccines as the number of persons vaccinated daily is shifting, thereby completely eroding the booking systems at individual vaccination centres. As such, we continue to warn against ineffectiveness and inefficiencies in the vaccination program. 

  • We urge Government to address logistical and distribution problems in 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 recommend rapid deliveries supported by public announcement at community and rural health-care centres to ensure that numbers of vaccines available match numbers of persons being attended to at vaccination centres. 

Outstanding issues

GBV and State Responsiveness to GBV during the Lockdown

We continue to raise concerns over the increase in GBV cases in Zimbabwe. We highlight local evidence regarding the rise of Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) that continues unabated and that access to services and modes of delivery of services for victims/survivors of this type of violence are limited in real terms and are largely deprioritised within the criminal justice system. 

Further, our own experience in Zimbabwe has shown that the lockdown has to an extent exacerbated known drivers of intimate partner violence (IPV) and domestic violence such as increased stress at the household level, as well as lockdowns and limits on travel making it harder for women and girls to escape abuse and access support. 

Reports also indicate that regular health, psychosocial and safe-house services are being overwhelmed, while traditional walk-in services are becoming harder to access or are not operating.

Due to travel bans and other lockdown measures, access to critical services such as clinical management of rape, healthcare services for survivors of violence in the home or family, sexual and reproductive healthcare, as well as mental health and psychosocial support, have been interrupted. In certain instances, this has resulted in unplanned or forced pregnancies, unsafe abortions, inadequate prenatal and post-natal care for pregnant and lactating women, increase in STIs including HIV, self-harm and suicide. 

Our monitoring continues to reveal that survivors are facing challenges accessing services at hospitals. We note that these challenges are compounded by social factors that already militate against the reporting of gender-based violence and in particular sexual gender-based violence.

  • We therefore recommend prioritisation of access to GBV especially SGBV services in public hospitals, at provincial land district levels and at other local clinics.
  • We urge Government agencies, Ministry of Health and Child Care, the Zimbabwe Republic Police Victim Friendly Unit (VFU), Social Welfare Department, and Civil Society Organisations to prioritise awareness raising and support services for survivors of Gender Based Violence especially in this time of COVID-19.
  • We call upon Government to create and facilitate stronger solid community base for the welfare and protection of women and children, during emergency situations and recovery planning.
  • We reinforce our recommendations to stakeholders, CSOs and Government of Zimbabwe to urgently  implement a dedicated ring-fenced budget to increase domestic funding for national GBV response.
  • We continue to call for expanded access to information on GBV services, including publicizing hotlines, tollfree lines and data base of local public health facilities where women and girls can receive compassionate and sensitive care. We recommend that this information be integrated into the national COVID-19 response messaging. 
  • We call for Government to protect the girl child from rape, sexual exploitation, child marriages and forced marriages during COVID-19.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)

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