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Women record highest number of COVID-19 cases in Bulawayo

At least 53 percent of the COVID-19 cases in Bulawayo are women while men account for at least 47 percent of the total COVID-19 cases. However, more deaths are recorded from males due to poor treatment seeking behaviour, a Bulawayo City Council (BCC) official has said.

This came up during a meeting conducted by Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) on Friday. The purpose of the meeting was to assess if the City is on track with regard to responding to COVID-19.

“This is because male health seeking behavior is low even when we look at the number of cases that go to health institutions for any other illnesses. Males often seek treatment a bit later,” said Mrs Siziba who is a representative from the City of Bulawayo’s Health Services Department.

Mrs Siziba highlighted that women comprise the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Bulawayo citing that this is mostly attributed to their role as caregivers as they take care of the ill at home and go to water fetching points which are often congested.

Speaking during the same meeting, another representative from the Health Services Department Patrick Ncube said the City has made several adjustments to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

“We have made adjustment to how people should conduct funerals. It is no longer permissible for families to have the body of their deceased family member to lie in state at home and we have advised funeral parlors that the body should no longer go home whether it be any other death or COVID-19 related death. This is because funerals have been cited as COVID-19 super spreaders,” said Ncube.

Ncube highlighted that culturally in burials there are a series of activities that citizens have always observed but now that there is COVID-19 practices such as body-viewing are no longer permissible.

“In addition, backfilling of graves is now done by BCC and there is no additional cost when Council is doing backfilling which was often done by family members. There is no extra fee for this service and BCC staff are available to do this. Catering at funeral wakes should stop for the time being until the COVID-19 era passes. This presents potential risks of transmitting the virus,” said Ncube.

Ncube said BCC will now monitor funerals and funerals wakes so that not more than 30 people gather at the same time.

Participants who attended the meeting encouraged BCC to improve COVID-19 contact tracing, and suggested the creation of a data free app with information on COVID-19 and a COVID-19 hotline for reporting those who violate the COVID-19 regulations.

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