566 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 14th of October 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 132 285 after 34 new cases all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Manicaland with 11 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on 14 October 2021 was 97 hospitalised cases: 27 New Admissions, 10 Asymptomatic cases, 63 mild-to-moderate cases, 15 severe cases and 9 cases in Intensive Care Units.
Active cases went down to 1 596. The total number of recoveries went up to 126 034 increasing by 78 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 95%. A total of 8 053 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 3 208 474. A total of 12 418 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 2 465 642. The death toll remains at 4 655 after 0 new deaths were recorded.
We note with commendation the zero recorded, loss of life to COVID-19 as of this update. We urge communities and policy makers at large, to remain vigilant in respecting the safety protocols and guidelines for minimizing risk of COVID-19 exposure. Whilst we commend the role played by the healthcare sector in supporting the response to COVID-19, we continue to praise the efforts of households and communities who in the face of limited resources have continued to plug the gap in healthcare provisions at household levels.
Critical Emerging Issue
Mandatory Vaccination of Public Service and the Rights of Workers.
We note that Friday the 15th of October 2021 was the deadline upon which the blanket mandatory vaccination mandate for civil servants was set by the Government of Zimbabwe. The mandate is directly applicable to the civil workforce which is highest formal employment provider, with over 300 000 employees including over 100 000 teachers. Enforcement of the mandate has been supported by measures set to halt the provision of payment of insurance or healthcare support for frontline healthcare workers who do not get vaccinated and loss of employment for those who do not get vaccinated by the 15 October deadline. We note that the mass blanket mandate has been in place as of September 2021 yet mechanisms to support a dedicated vaccination drive has not been set in place. We further note widespread reports of Civil servants in the education, agriculture and water and sanitation sectors continue to indicate real time constraints in accessing vaccination as distances to vaccine centres for the mass workforce have not been factored into the mandate. We continue to critique the inability to support schools in rural communities, at a minimum, to become vaccination centres as a clear indicator of a non-responsive approach to COVID-19 governance. We continue to raise issue with the long distances to health care centres which communities report as a major hindrance to accessing the vaccination programme.
- We call for government policies to be supported by administrative and operational mechanisms to support the said policies.
- We continue to call for a respect to the rights of workers and decry the blanket approach to vaccination of civil servants.
Increased Access to Vaccination Programme for Rural Communities
We continue to amplify calls for direct and deliberate expansion of the vaccine programme to rural and hard to reach communities. We draw attention to the shortages of vaccines at rural health care centres as reported by communities. We note that whilst efforts to ensure that rural health care centres have indeed been supported under the vaccine rollout, progress has been simply too slow and low to make significant impact. We note that this has been exacerbated by the fact that efforts to target rural socio-economic centres and hubs under the vaccine rollout have largely been weak, as raised in detail in prior reports. Furthermore, we highlight the long distances to healthcare centres which is reported by communities as a major hindrance to accessing the vaccines. We accordingly urge government to speedily address such gaps in the rural vaccination programme.
- We amplify our calls for vaccine equity within Zimbabwe.
- We call for prioritisation of rural, peri-urban, and hard to reach communities for vaccine accessibility.
- We reiterate our recommendation for the rolling out of mobile vaccine centres to provide direct support to communities.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe