Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 567 – WCOZ Situation Report

567 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 15th of October 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 132 333 after 48 new cases all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Manicaland with 14 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on 15 October 2021 was 123 hospitalised cases: 4 New Admissions, 10 Asymptomatic cases, 91 mild-to-moderate cases, 14 severe cases and 8 cases in Intensive Care Units.

Active cases went down to 1 463. The total number of recoveries went up to 126 213 increasing by 179 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 95%. A total of 6 003 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 3 214 477. A total of 7 217 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 2 472 859. The death toll now stands at 4 657 after 2 new deaths were recorded.

We continue to note increased social activities and movements during the weekends, largely disregarding safety protocols and health guidelines. We urge citizens to observe public health guidelines as they meet and interact in public places such as drinking spots and beer halls. We call upon enforcement agents to strengthen efforts to ensure adherence to COVID-19 prevention measures by the general public particularly during weekends.

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

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 also 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.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe

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