Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 512 – WCoZ Situation Report

512 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of  22nd of August 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 122 652 after 165 new cases all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tallies were recorded in Manicaland and Masvingo with 28 cases. We note the general nature of the hotspot update which did not give hotspot specific data but reported on the general downward trend of new infections due to containment measures.

We note that the Hospitalisation rate as of 15:00hrs on 21 August 2021 was 354 hospitalised cases: 32 new admissions, 64 asymptomatic cases, 216 mild-to-moderate cases, 55 severe cases and 19 cases in Intensive Care Units. (Providence, Avenues Clinic, Kariba District, St Michaels, Masvingo and Matebeleland North did not report). Active cases went down to 11 593. The total number of recoveries went up to 106 810 increasing by 442 recoveries. The recovery rate, further goes up marginally, to 87% from 86%. A total of 10 776 people received their 1st dose of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 2 312 417. A total of 9 181 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 1 460 162. The death toll went up to 4 249 after 13 new deaths were recorded.

Critical Emerging Issues 

Implications of COVID-19 Mass trauma on Patients, Communities and Healthcare Workers 

We highlight that in the treatment and management of COVID-19, Government is called upon to strengthen the training of healthcare personnel to ensure the increased quality of care for patients in hospitals for COVID-19. We highlight emerging research indicating that COVID-19 can be understood as a traumatic stressor event capable of eliciting PTSD-like responses and exacerbating other related mental health problems (e.g anxiety, depression, psychosocial functioning, etc). 

Fully cognisant, that patients, communities and frontline healthcare workers are all equitably negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and accordingly risks to both healthcare personnel and patients and their families arise. 

We raise with concern reports of neglect and poor care given to COVID-19 patients by healthcare workers increasing the distress and stress of patients and families. 

  • We call upon Government to urgently address quality of care and invest more in addressing chronic matters debilitating quality of healthcare in health centres.

We spotlight reports indicating healthcare workers are experiencing heightened levels of trauma because of COVID-19. We add to these experiences by highlight emerging research noting healthcare workers are experiencing mass trauma.

  • We call for acknowledgement of the presence of mass trauma in health care workers. We call for government to introduce training and support services to frontline healthcare workers to ensure a strong and agile health sector. 

Outstanding issues

Availability of Blood and Blood Services 

We highlight the chronic and persistent need to ensure individuals and communities have access to safe and quality-assured blood and blood products in both normal and emergency situations. We remain concerned by consistent blood shortages in Zimbabwe which have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Further, we continue to highlight the high costs of blood in Zimbabwe which, together with the high costs of health services, makes healthcare increasingly unaffordable. 

We call on more people to become life-savers by volunteering to donate blood regularly. We celebrate and thank individuals who donate blood and we encourage more people to start donating;

  • We call for Government to promote and provide quality donor care; 

Today is a call to action for Government and national blood transfusion services to invest in national blood services, provide adequate resources and put in place appropriate systems and infrastructure to increase the collection of blood from voluntary, non-remunerated blood donors. 

We further call Government to;

  • sustain the investments in provision and universal access to blood services for all system;
  • specifically ensure that the cost of blood is affordable to the generality to the Zimbabwean public; 
  • promote and implement appropriate clinical use of blood; 
  • strengthen the provision for testing kits and blood bags for blood services in Zimbabwe negatively impacted by the COVID-19 Lockdown restrictions; 
  • strengthen the systems for the oversight and surveillance on the whole chain of blood transfusion and distribution of blood and blood products.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe

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