650 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 7th of January 2022, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 221 282 after 1 104 new cases all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Mat North with 231 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate data as at 15:00hrs on 6 January 2022, was: 280 hospitalised cases: 37 New Admissions, 24 Asymptomatic cases, 212 mild-to-moderate cases, 24 severe cases and 3 cases in Intensive Care Unit. A total of 6 823 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 4 160 702. A total of 7 913 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 3 177 698. A total of 1 872 people received their 3rd dose of vaccine shots bringing the cumulative for 3rd doses to 11 375. Active cases went down to 24 057. The recovery rate remained at 87%. The total number of recoveries went up to 192 089 increasing by 1 089 recoveries. The death toll went up to 5 136 after 28 deaths were recorded.
Critical Emerging Issue
Healthcare Sector Brain Drain Implications on COVID-19
We continue to 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.
By-Elections and Adherence to COVID-19 Safety Protocols
We note the Proclamation of March 26, 2022, as the date for By-Elections in Zimbabwe. While welcoming the latest development, we highlight the imperative need to strike a balance between the safety, health and well-being of citizens on one hand, and ensuring free and full participation of eligible citizens in this democratic process, on the other hand. We underscore the importance of ensuring that citizens are afforded the opportunity to freely exercise their democratic right to vote, campaign and contest, despite the COVID-19 related constraints.
- We urge the timeous publishing of a Guidance note from Zimbabwe Election Commission for guiding the electorate and candidates to ensure their safe and equal participation in the By-Elections during COVID-19.
- We urge political parties and other stakeholders to be alive to the challenging COVID-19 context, and to conduct their activities in preparation of the By-Elections, in a manner that does not plunge the country into another potential wave.
- We urge uniform enforcement of the COVID-19 Regulations, and equal treatment before the law for all citizens’ political parties and stakeholders during this period.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe