COVID-19 Research

Mat North and South, Midlands, Mash East and Central, Manicaland and Harare - May 01, 2020

In May 2020, the CFHD was funded by the Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), Zimbabwe Office to implement a six-month research project on Community Driven Preparedness Planning and Response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Zimbabwe. Initially, the national response to the pandemic focused mainly on urban centres due to the high concentrations of people. The rural and peri-urban areas were generally viewed as being less susceptible to the virus and its effects. As a result, these areas, in general, and most rural areas, in particular, did not receive any strategic COVID-19 awareness and response support. However, as the pandemic spread, authorities as well as communities became more concerned with the rising number of community level infections, which were in part, attributable to escapees from COVID-19 quarantine centres, border jumpers passing through illegal crossing points and failure by citizens to adhere to Government-stipulated lockdown measures and World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19. The concerns on COVID-19 arose from the fact that information and awareness activities were not effectively reaching out to communities, testing for positive cases was lagging behind, health and other facilities were ill- and under-prepared to deal with the rising cases, and community leaders and local CBOs had not been adequately equipped to deal with the impact of the pandemic. Objectives of the Study The key objectives of the research study were as follows: a)To support evidence based documentation of COVID-19 Community Based Mitigation and Response Initiatives at the local community level. This would help in building an understanding of the current interventions, their level of reach into communities and anecdotes of impacts demonstrating effective ways of preventing the spread of the pandemic. b)To document the challenges, lessons, gaps, and opportunities for improvements in community based preparedness planning and responses to COVID-19. c)To compile a detailed report on findings for publication and dissemination results and lessons from the study. d)To develop an evidence based manual on Community Based Mitigation and Response to COVID-19 to be disseminated to over 300 community based organizations, local authorities, interested stakeholders, community leaders and government extension workers. In order to fulfil these objectives, CFHD carried out rapid assessments in order to contextualise the study. The assessments were followed by intensive research to understand the different stakeholder perspectives and levels of preparedness planning and response capacities of CBOs, community leaders and selected households in the targeted 16 community sites. This approach assisted the research teams to understand the level of preparedness planning initiatives and emerging good practices. In addition, the approach uncovered the gaps, threats, opportunities, action priorities and innovations for enhancing Community Based Preparedness Planning and Response (CBPPR) in the event of future and similar occurrences. The study gives insights into the relevant prevention measures and strategies that were put in place within communities. The study also highlights the key ingredients of processes for enhancing Community Based Mitigation and Response to pandemics such as Covid-19. These processes could be documented in “How-to” manuals targeted for use by Community Based Organizations (CBO) and key stakeholders working with communities in the targeted districts. The lessons and experiences in these 16 sites could also be replicated across the country.

Powered by Froala Editor