645 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 2nd of January 2022, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 214 878 after 664 new cases all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Mashonaland West with 276 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate data as at 15:00hrs on 1 January 2022, was: 351 hospitalised cases: 30 New Admissions, 60 Asymptomatic cases, 233 mild-to-moderate cases, 56 severe cases and 2 cases in Intensive Care Unit. A total of 2 912 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 4 132 864. A total of 3 683 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 3 144 028. A total of 329 people received their 3rd dose of vaccine shots bringing the cumulative for 3rd doses to 5 952. Active cases went down to 26 585. The recovery rate remains at 85%. The total number of recoveries went up to 183 261 increasing by 850 recoveries. The death toll went up to 5 032 after 15 deaths were recorded.
Critical Emerging Issue
Testing Tracing and Reporting Mechanisms
We highlight gaps in the national Testing, Tracing and reporting system. We highlight the daily reports which present the PCR tests taken at district and main health centres. We note however that community health centres are undertaking rapid antigen tests which are not being reported. This gap in the reporting raises questions on the efficacy of the testing system at community level and further indicates the high levels of households and communities who are having to shoulder the COVID-19 burden without support and excluded from the support systems in place. The disease burden of the COVID-19 pandemic is largely invisible and has continued to leave communities behind. We call for increased vigilance in the testing and tracing of COVID-19.
- We call for the publication of both PCR and antigen test data in the public domain.
- We continue to call for the publication of the sero-prevalence and genomic testing reports from survey recently undertaken but whose reports are outstanding the public domain.
Healthcare Sector Brain Drain Implications on COVID-19
We highlight the crisis in the health sector regarding the increased brain drain of heal sector workers. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic the on-going labour disputes and 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 directly limitations 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 completion and comprehensive 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
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe