644 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 1st of January 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 214 214 after 955 new cases all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Mashonaland West with 230 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate data as at 15:00hrs on 31 December 2021, was: 269 hospitalised cases: 15 New Admissions, 64 Asymptomatic cases, 181 mild-to-moderate cases, 21 severe cases and 3 cases in Intensive Care Unit. A total of 5 850 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 4 129 952. A total of 5 170 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 3 140 345. A total of 428 people received their 3rd dose of vaccine shots bringing the cumulative for 3rd doses to 5 623. Active cases went down to 26 786. The recovery rate remains at 85%. The total number of recoveries went up to 182 411 increasing by 1 841 recoveries. The death toll went up to 5 017 after 13 deaths were recorded.
Critical Emerging Issue
Healthcare Sector Brain Drain Implications on COVID-19
We highlight the crisis in the health sector regarding the increased brain drain of health sector workers. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the on-going labour disputes, outstanding matters in the health sector and the economy broadly have negatively impacted on the right to access health care for communities. We note, with concern for instance, that the City of Harare has been forced to shut down 9 community clinics as a result of the staffing shortages. We further note with concern 40% of the health care personnel trained in Zimbabwe are lost to migration leaving a significant shortage of trained personnel at all levels of the health care sector. We highlight the present challenges wherein the staffing matters have placed direct imitations on COVID-19 critical care with reports indicating that COVID-19 treatment centres are not operating at full capacity utilisation as a result of the staffing challenges. We note for instance that the Parirenyatwa COVID-19 Centre is operating at 40% due to the same. Accordingly in the context of the increased hospitalisation as seen in the 4th wave, the number of patients requiring support have increased and hospitals are in need of more specialised health workers to manage wards and theatres designated to cater for COVID-19 patients.
- We call for sustained and progressive engagement in the Tripartite Negotiating Forums and for Government to ensure comprehensive resolution and conclusion to outstanding matters.
- We applaud efforts by the Government bilaterally and under the auspices of SADC to address the loss of the healthcare sector personnel in a broader transnational manner.
- We continue to all for sustained economic reforms that place Human Development at the centre to ensure that economic growth is not rootless, jobless and futureless.
Limited Enforcement and Risk of Super Spreader Events
We note the celebratory mood and the commitment of communities to commemorate the beginning of the New Year after a particularly strained 2021, and as such, we wish the Nation at large, a Happy New Year. Furthermore, we note the commitment by law enforcement to support infection control through limiting the traditional New Year’s celebratory events and supporting active deployment to ensure strict adherence to the curfew. However, our communities report broadly that large scale secular and religious events were in fact held throughout the country which indicates the need to prepare for a surge of infections due to their super spreader nature. We also note reports indicating very active night life, bars and nightclubs which were open until the very early hours of the 1st of January well past curfew, with limited-to-non enforcement of curfew regulations. We further highlight the public complaints of inequality in restriction of gatherings particularly those of a non- governmental or non-political party nature which are increasingly creating a two track society in regards to persons subject to strict COVID-19 regulations.
- We urge a uniform application of the enforcement of COVID-19 regulations throughout the country.
- We call for increased support to provincial and district COVID-19 taskforce teams for surveillance of infections.
- We call for increased community based PCR testing.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe