591 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 9th of November 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 133 242 after 37 new cases all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Manicaland with 17 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate data as at 15:00hrs on 8 November 2021 has not changed from 7 November, standing 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 14 581 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 3 393 972. A total of 7 808 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 2 661 887. Active cases slightly went up to 398. The total number of recoveries went up to 128 153 increasing by 27 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 96%. The death toll goes up to 4 691, following a record of 1 new death.
We note Cabinet’s announcement that Government has adequate stocks of Covid-19 vaccines and that Sinovac vaccination of minors aged 16-17year age has been certified safe. We commend the publicization of this critical data, as it will allow informed decision-making which prioritise the best interests of the children by the guardians and parents of concerned minors.
Critical Emerging Issue
Inequalities laid bare during COVID-19
Despite the relaxation of the lockdown measures, we bring to the fore the inequalities that have either been either laid bare or exacerbated by COVID-19 and the lockdowns. In particular, we highlight the gendered financial equality gaps due to socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, especially on that the majority of women in Zimbabwe and women-led households who continue to face the biggest impacts in food security, income loss, and care-giving burdens. We re-emphasize the need for prioritization of women’s access to social safety nets during COVID-19, taking due cognisance of the fact that a majority of women in the informal sector, such as the cross-border traders, have suffered severe loss of livelihoods due to the many lockdowns imposed since March 2020.
- We call for the prioritisation of adequate funding of National Social Protection Policy Framework in the 2022 National Budget.
- We reinforce our calls for the provision of support for households who are no longer able to sustain themselves due to loss of livelihoods, especially women-led households.
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.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe