Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 519 – WCoZ Situation Report

519 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 29 of August 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 124 437 after 70 new cases, all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Manicaland with 24 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as of 15:00hrs on 28 August 2021 was 217 hospitalised cases: 10 new admissions, 89 asymptomatic cases, 95 mild-to-moderate cases, 22 severe cases and 11 cases in Intensive Care Units. 

Active cases went down to 8 502. The total number of recoveries went up to 111 534 increasing by 759 recoveries. The recovery rate continued to go up marginally to 90% from 89%. A total of 17 128 people received their 1st dose of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 2 530 481. A total of 10 371 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 1 606 751. The death toll went up to 4 401 after 11 new deaths were recorded.

Critical Emerging Issues 

Inconsistencies and Shortages of Vaccines 

We 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 the national level have been recently recorded. We note with concern the slowing down of the vaccination programme at a time when the country is still in the vaccination blitz period and limited jabs are being administered. 

We are concerned about growing community reports indicating inconsistencies of vaccine supplies which may be undermining public efforts to secure vaccines. We note that the number of persons vaccinated daily is shifting on a daily basis, thereby completely eroding the booking and tracking systems of individual vaccination centres. 

We therefore warn against such ineffectiveness and inefficiencies in the vaccination programme. 

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

Outstanding issues

Education Sector Resumption and Implications on Female Learners

We note with alarm the implications of the reopening of schools without wider engagements and dialogue with the sector. We note distressing reports of a growing rift between Government teachers and the employer regarding inadequate remuneration and support for teachers which is causing teachers to be incapacitated to attend to the scheduled reopening of schools. 

We note further the tuition fees increase of at least 33% in schools around the country and even higher in non-state schools which are particularly playing a critical role in plugging the gap in a context of a 3000 school deficit in the nation. Furthermore, we note with concern the refusal of schools to offer payment plans to parents/guardians due to the fact that the remaining school calendar has one term essentially. At the same time, we note the highly depressed incomes of households due to the persisting long term impacts of COVID-19 on livelihoods and the socio-economic sphere.  

Before the advent of COVID-19, there already was a huge concern over the low school completion rate of girls in high schools, which was pegged at 48%. We note further that the rate has continued to drop due to the COVID-19 lockdown implications on young adolescent girls. As such we highlight the crucial fact that policy efforts to return and keep girls into classrooms are being threatened by a failure to address the costs of education and the mechanisms to support households to keep girls in schools during the pandemic. 

  • We urge Government to intervene and ensure that learners are afforded access to learning services despite of their financial circumstances.
  • We urge the Parliament of Zimbabwe, to exercise its oversight role particularly in the advancement and enjoyment of the right to education which is a fundamental human right, guaranteed by section 75 of the Constitution.   
  • We call upon the Zimbabwe Gender Commission to inquire into the state of access to education by boys and girls, in order to ensure that gender inequalities within the educator sector are minimized.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe

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