590 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 8th of November 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 133 205 after 18 new cases all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Mashonaland East with 6 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on 7 November 2021 stood at 23 hospitalised cases: 1 New Admissions, 0 Asymptomatic cases, 23 mild-to-moderate cases, 0 severe cases and 0 cases in Intensive Care Units. A total of 7 524 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 3 379 391. A total of 5 339 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 2 654 079. Active cases went down to 389. The total number of recoveries went up to 128 126 increasing by 76 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 96%. The death toll goes up to 4 690, as there were 5 new deaths recorded.
We continue to note the decrease in COVID-19 positive cases. While encouraged by the developments, we continue to urge citizens to observe public health guidelines as they meet and interact in public places for social and economic activities. Furthermore, we continue to call for the strict implementation of public health safety protocols in the public transport system.
Critical Emerging Issue
Ensuring Vaccine Access and Equity in Zimbabwe
We highlight concerns regarding the reporting on the data of the vaccination-drive. We are concerned by the lack of publication of data in regards to districts that have received support, in particular, the rural and health-centres and disadvantaged communities. We stress that the status of the national vaccination programme, whilst meeting milestones must also be responsive to the needs and expectations of local Zimbabweans and their experiences. We are aware of efforts to target border communities directly, however reports from our networks, indicate significant pockets in those communities still being left behind.
We are concerned by the lack of publication of the gender disaggregated data by district to advise the nation and the health sector at large, on key areas of focus and support, in order to ensure vaccine equity within the country. We further emphasise the need to interrogate clear gender dynamics arising from the chaos and congestion at vaccination centres which appear to be leaving women behind due to rigidities and inflexibilities in the system. In the same breadth, we are continually concerned that despite the procurement process of vaccines being much advertised, the realities on the ground continue to raise inconsistencies in supplies and shortages of vaccines in communities.
- We call for a national report with clear gender disaggregated data on vaccine distribution and access per District.
- We urge the publication of data in regards to Districts that have received support, in particular, the rural and health centres and disadvantaged communities.
- We call for announcement and implementation of measures to ensure that border communities and hard to reach, remote communities receive expanded access to vaccines.
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 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 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