LIMITED social protection vehicles and the absence of social safety nets for some venerable groups has exacerbated already existing inequalities and chronic poverty among Zimbabwe’s vulnerable groups.
By Michael Gwarisa
A new report, the Zimbabwe’s Second Voluntary National Review (VNR) 2021 indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected government’s capacity to effectively address chronic poverty (by helping the poor households) as well as the capacity to mitigate the socio-economic shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the 2019 Labour Force and Child Labour Survey (LFCLS), about 249,000 persons, which is approximately 2% of the population, were receiving a monthly pension or any social security fund or both. With respect to medical insurance, about 984,000 persons, representing about 7% of the population, were members of a medical aid scheme. Covid19 also exacerbated poverty among people with disabilities,” said the report.
In Zimbabwe, according to the report, most people with disabilities, more than 70%, are unemployed and run informal businesses and their means of survival were greatly disrupted.
“During the lockdown, informal businesses were shut down and this reduced income for people with disabilities. The COVID19 grant was not availed to everyone, as the database was not comprehensive enough, leave out some people with disabilities without support.
“The amount being given were insufficient to sustain beneficiaries during the lockdown period. People with disabilities highlighted the need for their involvement at all levels, from grassroots levels, particularly on decisions that affect their welfare the response to the COVID19, pandemic.”
The report added that the burden and impact has been worse on women and other resource limited societal groups.
“The COVID 19 induced shocks acted as risk-multipliers that most impact those with the fewest resources to respond, particularly women and marginalized groups. In turn, emerging diseases increase the consumption of health services and require intensive resource use to meet the necessary healthcare demands of pandemics. Similarities of symptoms of Covid-19 and malaria resulted in communities delaying seeking early treatment for malaria and instead resorting to Covid-19 homecare.