UNICEF Zimbabwe Humanitarian Situation Report No. 4: 31 August 2021

5,690 children (3,189 girls and 2,501 boys), constituting 25% of the target, were admitted to community and facility-based programmes for the treatment of severe wasting from January to July 2021.

Between January and August 2021, a total of 1,559,634 women and children (1,183,255 females; 376,379 males) were reached with primary health care services against an annual target of 2.7 million.

A total of 694,008 people (369,097 females; 319,894 males; 5,017 people with disabilities [PLWDs]) out of an annual target of 610,057 were reached with safe water.

9,725 households (comprising over 41,152 people including 18,632 children) against an operational target of 8,250 households benefitted from emergency cash transfers in Highfields, Gutu and Mufakose districts.

Situation in Numbers as of 31 August 2021

124,773 cumulative COVID-19 cases

113,057 total recoveries

4,419 deaths

577,925 PCR tests conducted

7,297 active cases

Source: Zimbabwe COVID-19 Daily Sitrep 30/08/2021, Ministry of Health and Child Care

Funding Overview and Partnerships

UNICEF is appealing for US$ 65.8 million to meet the humanitarian needs in the country in 2021 as a result of the multiple hazards of residual impacts of Cyclone Idai and floods, COVID-19 and diarrheal disease outbreaks, and the economic crisis. As of 30 August 2021, funds totalling US$ 10,968,046 (17 per cent of the total 2021 funding requirement) had been received from various donors that include China, ECHO, Germany, Japan, US Fund for UNICEF, CDC, USA (OFDA), FCDO, SIDA, Denmark, Danish Committee for UNICEF and UNICEF Global Thematic Humanitarian. Other donors, including, the HDF group (FCDO, Irish Aid, EU, SIDA, GAVI) have approved reprogramming of the development funds to support the COVID-19 response as well as EDF and GPE.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

Despite improved cereal security in Zimbabwe as a result of increased maize yield in 2021, pockets of food insecurity have persisted in some areas including in urban areas where reduction in employment and household incomes compounded by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have affected affordability of basic food, goods and services. According to the ZIMSTAT Rapid PICES phone survey conducted from December 2020 to 10 March 2021, a significant share of households continued to report reduced income from various sources in the aftermath of the second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak. Access to health favored urban areas compared to rural areas, and lack of money was the primary reason for not being able to access medical treatment as sited by 78 percent of households. The year on year inflation rate for the month of August 2021, as measured by the all items in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), stood at 50.24 percent - a marked reduction from 107% in June 2021. However, the month on month inflation rate in August 2021 was at 4.18 percent gaining from 3.88% recorded in June 2021. This marginal increase in month on month inflation, continues to exert pressure on the prices of basic goods and services on the domestic market.

The third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to adversely affect the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe with a sharp increase in cases between June and August 2021 before a steady decrease of cases during the second half of August 2021. As of 31 August 2021, Zimbabwe had recorded 124,773 COVID-19 cases more than double the 49,864 cumulative cases recorded in June 2021. A total of 4,419 deaths had been recorded by 31 August, up from 1,789 deaths recorded in June 2021. Harare still had the highest incidence per capita at 1,274 cases per 100,000 followed by Matabeleland South with 1,221 cases per 100,000 and Mashonaland West at 1,077 cases per 100,000. The Government of Zimbabwe re-opened schools beginning with examination classes on 30 August with the rest of the classes scheduled to reopen on 8 September 2021.

The national COVID-19 vaccination campaign has continued to progress steadily between June and August 2021. By 31 August, a total of 2,552,573 people had received first doses of the vaccine up from 777,161 in June 2021. A total of 1,619,463 people had received the second doses of the vaccine up from 555,277 in June 2021. Some negative perceptions and barriers to vaccination still persist, particularly reckless behaviors among the youth with perceptions of immunity to COVID-19, and unrestrained visits to bars and pubs regularly where they do not social distance, and share drinks and cigarettes in violation of COVID-19 safety measures. There is also misinformation circulating amongst young people that there have been deaths and complications after people have been vaccinated which is still a major setback in the vaccination campaign2 . This underscores the need to continue to reinforce the general COVID-19 safety measures and national vaccination campaign that increases dialogue and reinforcement for positive behaviors in dealing with COVID-19.

Source: UN Children's Fund