680 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 6th of February 2022, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 230 452 after 50 new cases all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Midlands with 14 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate data as at 15:00hrs on 5 February 2022, was: 28 hospitalised cases: 2 New Admissions, 1 Asymptomatic case, 24 mild-to-moderate cases, 3 severe cases and 0 cases in Intensive Care Unit. A total of 1 386 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 4 291 654. A total of 1 583 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 3 320 662. A total of 1 251 people received their 3rd dose of vaccine shots bringing the cumulative for 3rd doses to 68 250. Active cases went down to 3 909. The recovery rate remains at 96%. The total number of recoveries went up to 221 180 increasing by 153 recoveries. The death toll goes up to 5 363 after 1 death was recorded.
Area of Concern
Education Sector Resumption and Implications on Female Learners
We note with alarm the implications of the reopening of schools without wider engagements and dialogue with the sector. We note distressing reports of a growing rift between Government teachers and the employer regarding inadequate remuneration and support for teachers which is causing teachers to be incapacitated to attend to the scheduled reopening of schools. We note further the tuition fees increase of at least 33% in schools around the country and even higher in non-state schools which are particularly playing a critical role in plugging the gap in a context of a 3000-school deficit in the nation. Furthermore, we note with concern the refusal of schools to offer payment plan to parents/guardians since the remaining school calendar has one term essentially. At the same time, we note the highly depressed incomes of households due to the persisting long term impacts of COVID-19 on livelihoods and the socio-economic sphere. Before the advent of COVID-19, there already was a huge concern over the low school-completion rate of girls in high schools, which was pegged at 48%. We note further that the rate has continued to drop due to the COVID-19 lockdown implications on young adolescent girls. As such we highlight the crucial fact that policy efforts to return and keep girls into classrooms is being threatened by a failure to address the costs of education and the mechanisms to support households to keep girls in schools during the pandemic.
- We urge Government to intervene and ensure that learners are afforded access to learning services despite of their financial circumstances.
- We urge the Parliament of Zimbabwe, to exercise its oversight role particularly in the advancement and enjoyment of the right to education, which is a fundamental human right, guaranteed by section 75 of the Constitution.
- We call upon the Zimbabwe Gender Commission to inquire into the state of access to education by boys and girls, to ensure that gender inequalities within the educator sector are minimized.
Current State of Gender Based Violence in Zimbabwe
We continue to note an increase in GBV cases in the country. We further note that such high levels of sexual and gender-based violence have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and the protracted national lockdowns which have resulted in increased school dropouts, resulting in increased early marriages and a consequent alarming increase in teenage pregnancies. This harsh reality highlights the fact that risks of GBV in Zimbabwe society continue to intensify in scale and scope while the population is exposed to degenerating food insecurity, compounded by economic hardship and the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- We call upon justice delivery system to strengthen their coordination mechanisms and referral pathways to effectively fight against Gender-Based Violence.
- We further call upon Government to ensure uninterrupted access to services by survivors of gender- based violence.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe