Habakkuk Trust has called upon the Government of Zimbabwe to speedily institute measures to promptly disseminate information on the COVID19 pandemic.
The trust said the information should be availed in local languages through easily accessible communication media such as WhatsApp, posters, banners, and hailers amongst others. This will be instrumental in averting the implosion of a nationwide coronavirus infection catastrophe as already occurring in European countries such as Italy.
Habakkuk Trust staff members are engaged in ongoing community assessments in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces through the organization’s trained community structures (the Community Advocacy Action Teams) with a presence in 9 Districts in the region. Snap surveys have been conducted in Bulawayo for the past 3 days. The organization has observed the following worrying and disturbing trends that have the potential to escalate the likelihood of COVID-19 infections in communities:
1. The absence of a visible communication by the government regarding the Coronavirus;
2. The majority of community members and Action Teams interviewed by Habakkuk Trust staff members indicated that they rely on social media and hearsay and most of it is conflicting and inaccurate.
3. Ignorance and disregard for preventive measures announced by the President in line with S.I 77 of 2020.
“Habakkuk Trust firmly believes that access to information is a key prerequisite for informed decision making and active community participation. Therefore, the lack of awareness-raising by the government is contributing directly to the lethargic community response and urgency towards the coronavirus,” Mr. Dumisani O. Nkomo the Habakkuk Trust Chief Executive Officer said in a statement.
The organization further reminded the Government that according to Section 44 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, it has the mandate to “respect, protect, promote and fulfill” human rights and freedoms.
Habakkuk Trust is a Christian advocacy organization that exists to enhance citizen participation in decision making and development processes through research, advocacy information dissemination, and capacity building.