BY MELODY CHIKONO
THE COVID-19 pandemic is said to have exacerbated inequalities in Zimbabwe and could cause malnutrition and food insecurity which will affect mostly women and children, a consortium of civil organisations has said.
This came out during a virtual meeting conducted by the Fight Inequality Alliance in Zimbabwe which joined other global movements this week, to discuss issues on how to deal with the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of a small elite and at the expense of the suffering masses.
Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) director, Janet Zhou said poor people in the country were struggling to afford lifesaving ventilators and other necessities to combat COVID-19, as well as basic things like food, which might result in malnutrition.
“In Zimbabwe, inequalities are manifesting in many forms, which includes the disparity between private and public schools, with those from private schools continuing to learn online while those from public schools are not learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Zhou said.
“Food insecurity and malnutrition in children has also become a pervasive public health concern for the country. Based on analysis of the Demographic Health Survey, the unequal distribution of household wealth and residence status plays a critical role in driving socioeconomic inequalities and worsening child food insecurity and malnutrition,” she said.
Zhou also demanded that COVID-19 vaccines should be distributed in a fair and transparent manner to avoid further debt contraction or servitude by big pharmaceutical companies.
“We demand the cancellation of all opaque external debt and loan repayments and a moratorium on legitimate public debts to free up resources to meet increased public need during the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
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