Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 500 – WCoZ Situation Report

500 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 10th of August 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 117 258 after 405 new cases, all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Mashonaland East with 83 cases. The hotspots updates are as follows: Mashonaland West Province – Hurungwe (1), Kariba (1), Makonde (4), Mashonaland Central – Bindura (5), Mazowe (11). Mashonaland East – Marondera (20), Mutoko (10). Masvingo Province – Chiredzi (6), Masvingo (14), Midlands Province -Kwekwe (5), Harare Province – Harare (55).

We note that the Hospitalisation rate as of 15:00hrs on 9 August 2021 was 498 hospitalised cases: 34 new admissions, 76 asymptomatic cases, 326 mild-to-moderate cases, 76 severe cases and 20 cases in Intensive Care Units. (Providence, Arundel, BS Leon, Muzari, St Ruperts, St Michaels, Matebeleland South and Montague did not report today). 

Active cases went down to 21 809. The total number of recoveries went up to 91 499 increasing by 1 289 recoveries. The recovery rate goes up marginally to 78% from 77%. A total of 15 178 people received their 1st dose of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 1 912 592. A total of 16 873 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 1 061 238. The death toll went up to 3 950 after 31 new deaths were recorded. 

We note the latest announcement by Government allowing sit-in congregants at churches on condition that the congregants are fully vaccinated through the 2 doses of the vaccines, and also that all WHO protocols and COVID-19 regulations are observed.  We however raise a query as to the basis of this exception, in the context where Restaurants are still banned from taking sit-in customers. We warn against the abuse of such exceptions, particularly where there may not be strong mechanisms to ensure compliance with the guidelines and regulations. 

Critical Emerging Issues

Measures to Support Communities to Access Substantive On-Time Health Care Support 

We continue to note the difficulties reported by our networks for positive COVID-19 persons to access health support. We are concerned at the impression that communities and households seek care when it is too late without seeking to understand why. We note reports from our networks that indicate not being able to make substantive distinctions between flu and COVID-19 symptoms. We also note reports reporting late and rapid onset of symptoms. Further, we note households who have to make a decision between paying for tests versus using limited household funds to pay for the care of COVID-19. We are concerned that communities report community health care centres with limited supplies and hence opt out of staying in health care centres where there is no known support versus the tangible care that can be offered at home albeit to their detriment. 

  • We continue to call for direct efforts to reduce the lag time between policy announcements and implementation of the same in particular the virtual hospital services meant to provides expanded care to home based treatment and management of COVID-19. 
  • We continue to call the Government to ensure reduction of costs for testing of COVID-19 for suspected cases. 
  • We urge full support for households facing the crisis of the treatment and management of COVID-19.  

Outstanding issues

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 programme, 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.  

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)

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