Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 559 – WCOZ Situation Report

559 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 7th of October 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 131 705 after 182 new cases all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Matebeleland North with 85 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on 7 October 2021 was 86 hospitalised cases: 8 New Admissions, 5 Asymptomatic cases, 66 mild-to-moderate cases, 11 severe cases and 4 cases in Intensive Care Units.

Active cases went down to 2 205. The total number of recoveries went up to 124 866 increasing by 181 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 95%. A total of 9 192 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 3 162 108. A total of 19 731 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 2 393 776. The death toll went up to 4 634 after 3 new deaths were recorded.

Critical Emerging Issue

Prioritising Women workers in the Healthcare Sector

We continue to note the challenges facing the health sector, particularly in regards to conditions of service for the health care sector workers. We note that whilst various measures have been undertaken to address on-going concerns, there is limited improvement in real terms for the conditions of critical essential service workers. We note further that as the leadership of the health sector is largely characterised by an over-representation of men thus resulting in skewed support for the women in the sector who constitute the bulk of healthcare workers in positions of nursing and other low-ranking positions in the sector. Consequently, the limitations in provision of housing, transport other support measures to alleviate the working conditions of health sector workers are leaving behind the majority of women health workers, who are ranking at the bottom of the sector.

  • We call for specific allocation of resources and programs to address conditions of service for nurses directly in the up-coming 2022 National Budget.
  • We call for engagement in progressive dialogue with workers in the healthcare sector with special regard for the conditions of the nursing force.

Outstanding issues

Slowdown in Vaccination Programme

  • We note with concern the marked slowdown in the vaccination programme. Whilst we fully commend the Government, Communities and the health care sector for supporting the vaccination programme which has seen Zimbabwe become the 2nd most vaccinated country after South Africa and having over 15% of its population vaccinated, Zimbabwe is not moving fast enough in light of a large stock of vaccine being in country. Jabs are not getting into arms fast enough.
  • We are concerned that Zimbabwe has failed to meet daily vaccination targets of 50 000 persons per day which is the target in the national vaccine program. We remain further concerned that the average number of people who received first doses peaked at 37 000 per day in July 2021 driven by fears of the third wave and the last week only 12 000 people got vaccinated.

The slowdown of the vaccination program is further problematic in a context where the public service, which is the largest employer in the country has already adopted a mandatory vaccination policy with severe penalties on defaulters. The private sector has largely adopted similar measures in various sectors and yet the vaccination rate continues to fall. This requires a shift in strategy and policy.

  • We continue to call for a people centred vaccination program. We continue to call for a responsive and agile vaccination program that delivers vaccines to the people as opposed to requiring people to search for the vaccine.
  • We continue to call for the expansion of the vaccine program into actual mobile vaccination programmes that deliver vaccines community to community.
  • We continue to call for the provision of vaccination centres at clothing, food and small scale producer markets.
  • We continue to call for the setting up of vaccine points at agro-dealers and grain collection points in rural and peri0urbans communities.
  • We continue to call for vaccination points to be established at both legal and illegal housing areas and in housing developments.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe

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