Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 568 – WCOZ Situation Report

568 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 16th of October 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 132 368 after 35 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 16 October 2021 was 71 hospitalised cases: 8 New Admissions, 9 Asymptomatic cases, 52 mild-to-moderate cases, 7 severe cases and 3 cases in Intensive Care Units.

Active cases went down to 1 402. The total number of recoveries went up to 126 308 increasing by 95 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 95%. A total of 7 398 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 3 221 875. A total of 8 319 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 2 479 178. The death toll goes up to 4 658 after 1 new death was recorded.

Critical Emerging Issue

Recognition of the Role of Workers in Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis of Care

We continue to highlight the role of essential service workers and workers at large in their day to day work and in the manner of their response to the multi-layered crises spotlighted by the COVID-19. In particular, we highlight the deficiencies and the negative economic costs of state systems that do not have the capacity to address the multi-layered trauma, nation-wide that is created, facilitated and exposed by both natural and man-made crises including the COVID-19 pandemic. This has placed the role of care work at the front and centre of the mechanisms of government systems.

Whilst the pandemic itself was indeed not fully anticipated, the question of the inability of state systems to respond to the socio-economic stresses raised by crises remains on the table of government. This responsibility has been made graver by the undermining of the role of workers, in particular women workers within critical services arms of the state. Essential service workers, delivering critical services in health, education, social welfare and water and sanitation have been persistently de-prioritised and undermined as they acquit the critical care work which continues to be unrecognised, unrewarded and unsupported.

This may day we continue to call upon Government to fully address the conditions of service of all workers and critically to invest in addressing the crises of poor health, education and social welfare system that unnecessarily undermine all socio-economic and political efforts directed and securing the rights of citizens sustainably.

We call for the increased support, recruitment and intensified deployment into communities’ state funded social welfare officers with resources to undertake a wide array of critical social services at community level especially in the 2021-2023 National Budget.

We call for the increased provision of and support to teachers in early childcare facilities who are understaffed, under-resourced and underpaid yet are playing a critical foundational role in child development which is the basis of all human development, we call for express provision for these measures in the 2022-2023 National Budget.

Outstanding Issues

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.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe

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