651 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 8 th of January 2022, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 221 918 after 636 new cases all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Mash East with 136 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate data as at 15:00hrs on7 January 2022, was: 228 hospitalised cases: 33 New Admissions, 29 Asymptomatic cases, 171 mild-to-moderate cases, 27 severe cases and 1 case in Intensive Care Unit. A total of 4 120 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 4 164 822. A total of 4 118 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 3 181 816. A total of 495 people received their 3rd dose of vaccine shots bringing the cumulative for 3rd doses to 11 870. Active cases went down to 24 221. The recovery rate remained at 87%. The total number of recoveries went up to 192 549 increasing by 460 recoveries. The death toll went up to 5 148 after 12 deaths were recorded.
Critical Emerging Issue
Reduced Vaccination Uptake
We note with concern, a decline in the vaccination rate of doses being administered on a daily basis, which in the past week has been averaging below 5 000 on a daily basis. We further note little uptake of the third dose/booster vaccine amongst citizens. The low numbers could suggest renewed vaccine hesitancy amongst communities, against the backdrop of a COVID-19 variant ( Omicron) which has been largely perceived by communities as “mild”.
- We therefore recommend a robust revival of the awareness campaign and community mobilisation on vaccination, especially the 3rd dose /booster shots.
- We urge easy access to information regarding booster shots, by all citizens, especially targeted vulnerable groups and communities such as persons with disabilities, various subgroups of women, rural populace and those in hard-to-reach areas.
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.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe