As part of minimizing the spread of corona virus, Community members from Bikita are working hand in glove with Community Watch Committees (CWCs) established by communities working with Heal Zimbabwe in Bikita to coordinate and report returnees from neighbouring countries to the police and Traditional leaders.
This came out during virtual discussions organised by Heal Zimbabwe on ways that communities can adopt to combat the spread of the COVID 19 pandemic. Participants acknowledged the important role being played by CWCs in reducing the spread of COVID 19.In July 2020 alone, CWCs reported 15 cases of returnees to the responsible authorities. The discussion noted that despite poor health services at most local clinics, communities have embraced hygienic practices such as washing of hands with soap and wearing of face masks. Other issues that came out during the discussion relates to incessant droughts resulting from climate change which have left communities food insecure. Communities however welcomed relief aid from donors and noted that this has gone a long way in ensuring that communities have food for their families. Communities also bemoaned the high prices of most basic commodities and this is being worsened by shops that are demanding foreign currency for basic commodities such as cooking oil, flour and sugar. At most shops a 2litre bottle of cooking oil is being sold as high as US$3.00 while a 2kg bag of sugar is sold for US$2.50 respectively.
As part of the way forward, communities resolved to increase stakeholder representation in CWC’s.Some of these stakeholders include Health Committees and Traditional leaders. Community members also directed Borehole Committees to ensure that all boreholes have sanitizers and that hygiene is prioritised at all water points. Communities noted that this will greatly improve hygiene and ensure that community members contain the spread of COVID 19 pandemic.
The virtual Information centers by Heal Zimbabwe are an initiative meant to create platforms for communities during COVID-19 lockdown where they can discuss and collectively identify ways through which they can proffer solutions to problems in their communities. The information centers also equip communities with relevant information on Covid 19 by bringing in specialised personnel such as health workers, Ministry of Health representatives among others to educate communities on COVID 19.Virtual information centers are also platforms that facilitate local level conversations on pertinent issues affecting communities as well as create socially cohesive communities.