by Dumisani Ncube
|Rural communities in Matabeleland have taken it upon themselves to curb the increase in imported cases arising from illegal returnees. The issue of border jumpers making illegal entry into the country without undergoing screening and testing has been a cause of concern in recent weeks.|
Habakkuk Trust Community Advocacy Action Teams in border lying Districts of Gwanda and Matobo and Bulilima have reported of vigilant actions taken by villagers to address the issue.
Community members in these areas have come up with surveillance mechanisms to detect movement into the community with an interest in people coming from neighboring Botswana and South Africa. In addition to the surveillance mechanisms, communities in some have also developed reporting mechanisms that ensure a timely response from the relevant authorities.
A week ago communities in Bulilima ward 10 successfully stopped Kombis that were ferrying border jumpers coming from Botswana to Bulawayo. The move was instigated by Habakkuk Trust Community Advocacy Action Team members who alerted the local Councillor who inturn acted promptly to address the issue.
Matobo Ward 10 community resolved to exclude pregnant women, the elderly above the age of 70 years, and the youths from attending funerals. They also selected a Covid-19 surveillance team to ensure adherence to Covid-19 regulations and the implementation of community measures. Gwanda Covid-19 Rapid Response Team spent the day in Ward 4 looking for a returnee who reportedly used an illegal entry point, skipping mandatory quarantine and screening process.
The sharp increase in local infections in the country has been attributed to illegal returnees and quarantine escapes.
To date, Zimbabwe has a cumulative total of 3245 local infections with the total number of Covid-19
positive cases standing at 4339 as of 05 August 2020.
Grassroots initiatives undertaken by rural communities in the management of Covid-19 are highly commendable as they are effective in reducing the spread of the coronavirus.