Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 517 – WCoZ Situation Report

517 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of  26th of August 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 124 236 after 250 new cases, all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Masvingo with 42 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as of 15:00hrs on 25 August 2021 was 383 hospitalised cases: 18 new admissions, 115 asymptomatic cases, 186 mild-to-moderate cases, 53 severe cases and 29 cases in Intensive Care Units. 

Active cases went down to 9 313. The total number of recoveries went up to 110 549 increasing by 336 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 89%. A total of 31 273 people received their 1st dose of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 2 453 529. A total of 26 070 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 1 561 368. The death toll went up to 4 374 after 18 new deaths were recorded.

Critical Emerging Issues 

Social Protection during COVID-19

We continue to note with concern the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on lives and livelihoods. 

We note that the 2021 Budget Performance overview as shared by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, through the Mid-Term Budget presentation to the Parliament of Zimbabwe indicated that Treasury is performing well and indeed there is already a USD50 million surplus on the books thus far. This statement supports indications by Treasury regarding the earmarking of expenditure for IMF Special Drawing Rights imminently due to Zimbabwe. Consequently, we welcome the arising opportunities and efforts to address the issue of the devastation of livelihoods in Zimbabwe and to strengthen social protection mechanisms. 

Accordingly, we note with support the hearing on the Petition on Social Protection raised by the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe due in Parliament this coming week. We continue to call for substantive and progressive responses from the executive on this matter. 

For the reasons above, among others, we continue to amplify our concern on the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, particularly that the majority of women in Zimbabwe and women-led households are facing the biggest impacts in food security, income loss, and caregiving burdens. We emphasize the need for prioritization of women’s access to social safety nets during COVID-19, taking due cognisance of the fact that a majority of women in the informal sector, such as the cross-border traders, have suffered severe loss of livelihoods.

  • We continue to call for the resuscitation of the COVID-19 support scheme. 
  • We call for the adequate funding of a National Social Protection Policy Framework.
  • We therefore urge Government to expand social safety nets and offset economic impacts for COVID-19.
  • We reinforce our calls for the provision of support for households who are no longer able to sustain themselves due to loss of livelihoods, especially women-led households.

Outstanding issue

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 systems; 
  • 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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