654 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 11th of January 2022, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 223 765 after 765 new cases all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Mashonaland East with 147 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate data as at 15:00hrs on 10 January 2022, was: 234 hospitalised cases: 35 New Admissions, 34 Asymptomatic cases, 172 mild-to-moderate cases, 26 severe cases and 2 cases in Intensive Care Unit. A total of 4 308 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 4 176 397. A total of 4 783 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 3 197 072. A total of 840 people received their 3rd dose of vaccine shots bringing the cumulative for 3rd doses to 15 185. Active cases went down to 18 604 The recovery rate rose to 89%. The total number of recoveries went up to 199 960 increasing by 3 445 recoveries. The death toll went up to 5 201 after 21 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.
Home-based Care Amidst High Number of Active Cases
We note that of the 18 604 currently active COVID-19 cases in Zimbabwe, only 234 cases are currently hospitalised. This reveals that a greater burden of COVID-19 management is being carried by communities and at household level. We highlight the need to ensure that relevant and adequate support is provided to communities in order to alleviate various difficulties presented by home-based COVID-19 care and management. We urge the following measures to be implemented by Government and stakeholders:
- Ensuring capacitation and resourcing of community isolation centres in order to cater for households that are incapable of practising self-isolation due to their restricted living and housing conditions.
- Provision of PPE to households taking care of COVID-19 patients.
- Stepping up on awareness campaigns on handling of COVID-19 deaths at community level in order to minimise risk of infection.
Reduced Media Coverage of COVID-19
We note, with growing concern, reduced media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic in Zimbabwe, as the Nation continues to implement the vaccination programme and as the pandemic continue to be present and the lockdown is within a 2-week extension. We are concerned at the high number of community deaths which require that communities and the media at large remain vigilant of the pandemic. We further note the COVID-19 fatigue not only amongst communities, but also amongst stakeholders, duty bearers, the media and information community.
Cognisant of the key role played by the media in addressing matters of national concern:
- We call upon the media to remain vigilant to the pandemic in Zimbabwe.
- We call upon the editors and respective newsrooms to continue to prioritise the coverage and reporting of COVID-19 as we face difficulties in navigating the curve of infections.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe