The media played a critical role in information dissemination which became the rallying point for Zimbabwe’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said yesterday.
Rapid spread of information on the simple steps to minimise risk of Covid-19 infections worked to minimise risks of infections.
Between January and August last year Zimbabwe recorded 45 256 deaths compared to 33 818 this year.
In discussions with the ZBC board along with the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr Nick Mangwana, Minister Mutsvangwa yesterday saluted the media for playing a sterling role in disseminating information when the country was facing the Covid-19 pandemic.
“ZBC was one of the institutions that lifted the banner very high in our fight against this global existential threat of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The right and proper information was the frontline weapon in waging the Covid-19 war. Your invaluable radios were deployed to send the messages far afield,” she said.
She said the nation was galvanised with the message that it was at war against a virus. The lifestyle had to change from business as usual, now we do have a new normal. Your TV was also brought to effective action in spreading the message of national survival.”
“All said you saved and helped, and you are continuing in helping serving Zimbabwean lives,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
In an earlier interview, vice chairman of the Ad-Hoc Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Covid-19, Professor Amon Murwira, who is also Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister, said information dissemination was a key enabler in combating Covid-19.
“It is about social distancing, sanitisation, masking, temperature checks. More than 98 percent of the people in Zimbabwe know about Covid-19 according to the Ministry of Information,” he said.
The mortality statistics released by the Government put to bed wayward suggestions from some sections that the country is under-recording Covid-19 deaths.
Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe said the mortality figures are actually dropping, a sign health care workers have responded well to diseases.
Minister Kazembe said they requested the figures from the Central Registry to analyse if the death toll in the country has risen in the unlikely event that they are not testing enough.
“We checked the death rate. In the unlikely event that we are not doing enough testing, we should then see an upsurge in the number of deaths in this particular period compared to last year.
“I am glad to inform you that actually our numbers went down contrary to expectations given the pandemic.
“This could be attributed to the interventions which made people behave in a clean manner,’ said Minister Kazembe.
Experts say improved sanitation occasioned by the threat of the pandemic has upgraded the health awareness of people, concluding that some might have been dying of diseases caused by poor hygiene.
However, it is important to note that some deaths in the country are caused by traffic accidents and the fall in fatal crashes during the early phases of the lockdown helped, although masks and clean hands helped a lot more to cut the death rate.