Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 499 – WCoZ Situation Report

499 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 9th of August 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 116 853 after 526 new cases all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Harare with 172 cases. The hotspots updates are as follows; Mashonaland West Province – Hurungwe (5), Kariba (2), Makonde (6), Mashonaland Central – Bindura (4), Mazowe (6). Mashonaland East – Marondera (30), Mutoko (15). Masvingo Province – Chiredzi (14), Masvingo (14), Midland Province – Kwekwe (4), Harare Province-Harare (68).

We note that the Hospitalisation rate as of 15:00hrs on 8 August 2021 was 547 hospitalised cases: 50 new admissions, 86 asymptomatic cases, 362 mild-to-moderate cases, 77 severe cases and 22 cases in Intensive Care Units. (Providence, Arundel, Wilkins, Mbuma, Nkayi, Matebeleland South and Montague did not report). 

Active cases went down to 22 724. The total number of recoveries went up to 90 210 increasing by 1 381 recoveries. The recovery rate goes up marginally to 77% from 76%. A total of 33 210 people received their 1st dose of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 1 897 414. A total of 21 747 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 1 044 365. The death toll went up to 3 919 after 19 new deaths were recorded. 

Critical Emerging Issues

Protection of prisoners and detainees from the Delta driven third wave of COVID-19 

We highlight the need for increased transparency and accountability for COVID-19 reporting, treatment and management for detainees and the prison population. We are concerned by insufficient measures to protect this vulnerable population during the third wave of the pandemic in Zimbabwe which is driven by the highly transmissible and severe Delta variant. We are concerned by the fact that the lockdown has resulted in a lock-out of the families and friends who are the sole support system for inmates and detainees. As such, we note that limited visitation has meant very little has gone towards ensuring that adequate effort is directed towards the protection of this vulnerable population. We are concerned about the reports of COVID-19 deaths or transmission of COVID-19 amongst detainees and prisoners due to the poor conditions of the prisons and holding facilities in the country. Whilst we note some efforts have been made in addressing the spread of COVID-19 in this key population, these have not been verified and supported by other mechanisms to ensure the standards are adequately met and consistently maintained.  

  • We continue to call the Government to address the status of COVID-19 in prisons and detainee populations. 
  • We urge full accounting of the treatment and management of COVID-19 within prison and detention facilities. 
  • We recommend gender disaggregated data on inmates tested and treated for COVID-19 within the prison population throughout Zimbabwe.  
  • We continue to call for a full public accounting of the management and response to COVID-19 in the key population.  
  • We call for the update of access to vaccines for prisoners and detained persons. 
  • We reiterate our calls for a commission of enquiry in the Zimbabwean response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Ensuring Vaccine Access and Equity in Zimbabwe 

We highlight concerns regarding the reporting on the data of the vaccination drive. We are concerned by the lack of publication of data in regards to districts that have received support, in particular, the rural and health centres and disadvantaged communities. We stress that the status of the national vaccination program, whilst meeting milestones must also be responsive to the needs and expectations of local Zimbabweans and their experiences. We are aware of efforts to target border communities directly however, reports from our networks, indicate significant pockets in those communities still being left behind.  

We are concerned by the lack of publication of the gender-disaggregated data by district to advise the nation and the health sector at large, on key areas of focus and support, in order to ensure vaccine equity within the country. We further emphasise the need to interrogate clear gender dynamics arising from the chaos and congestion at vaccination centres which appear to be leaving women behind due to rigidities and inflexibilities in the system. 

In the same breath, we are continually concerned that despite the procurement process of vaccines being much advertised, the realities on the ground continue to raise inconsistencies in supplies and shortages of vaccines in communities. 

  • We call for a national report with clear gender disaggregated data on vaccine distribution and access per District.  
  • We urge the publication of data in regards to Districts that have received support, in particular the rural and health centres and disadvantaged communities. 
  • We call for announcement and implementation of measures to ensure that border communities and hard to reach, remote communities receive expanded access to vaccines.  

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 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 to be expected side effects.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe

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