Sunday Mail Reporter
Many Zimbabweans are disregarding recommended Covid-19 preventive health measures, including avoiding social gatherings and wearing face coverings, a new study has concluded.
According to the Poverty and Social Impact of Covid-19 Third Round Rapid PICES study undertaken by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, currently only 58 percent of Zimbabweans are avoiding social gatherings down from 91 percent last year.
In addition, about 80 percent of the people are wearing face masks down from 87 percent last year.
The study found that only 79 percent of Zimbabweans continue to wash their hands regularly down from 87 percent last year.
“The proportion of people taking preventive health measures continued to fall,” reads the report.
“In the third survey wave, 58 percent avoided social gatherings, down from 91 percent in July 2020.
“A drop was also reported in wearing masks and washing hands.”
It added: “About 63 percent of the respondents said they will definitely get the (Covid-19) vaccine if available free of charge, while 16 percent stated they will not get the vaccine or that they were unsure.”
The study also found that nearly 40 percent of school-going children got access to education through remote learning since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“With the easing of lockdown and reopening of schools since October 2020, most of the children were in school. In the third-round survey, 91 percent of school-age children were attending school.
“The Covid-19 pandemic continued to play a negative role in keeping children out of school.
The main reason for not attending school was that teachers were not yet teaching as reported for 40 percent of those who were out of school.
“Those who feared getting infected constituted 8 percent. Almost 40 percent of children were engaged in some form of remote learning.”
Speaking at a virtual seminar on the Dissemination of the Rapid PICES 2020 Top Line Findings, ZimStat director-general Mr Taguma Mahonde, said the survey produced critical information on the consequences of Covid-19 on households and policy dialogue.
“Owing to Covid-19, ZimStat suspended most surveys in March 2020 following the announcement of Covid-19 containment measures,” he said.
“Hence, ZimStat decided to proceed by way of telephone surveys on the 1 800 Mini PICES households of 2019.
“After lockdown, ZimStat was included in the essential services category so that it proceeds with the 2022 population census mapping.”
The survey indicated that Covid-19 had resulted in a substantial drop in employment.
“Thirteen percent of those who were working pre-Covid-19 no longer worked in July 2020,” the report reads.
“This was 18 percent of the urban population.
“Employment had recovered slightly by March 2021 when 57 percent of the working age respondents worked.”
ZimStat, together with the World Bank and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), designed the high-frequency telephone survey of households to measure the socio-economic impact of Covid-19 households in Zimbabwe.
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