Govt must cushion the poor: Nango

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THE National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango) yesterday blasted the government saying its declaration of a 21-day national lockdown is void of practical measures to address the concerns of vulnerable groups in society.

This comes as government announced a nationwide lockdown which began on Monday, to help curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus (Covid-19).

Government also indicated that it would put in place measures to support the poor, including the provision of cash transfers of $200 per household.

However, in a statement, Nango which consists of over 1 000 civil society groups in Zimbabwe, indicated that although the government announced measures to cushion the vulnerable, they were not enough given the gravity of the country’s socio-economic challenges which have resulted in over
8 million people facing starvation.

“The lockdown is one of the most convenient strategies to decisively constrain and eradicate Covid-19 in our space.
“However, this move should have been put in place in a wholesome way, not just being proclaimed with no accompanying fundamental considerations on how the welfare of the diverse communities will be promoted and or maintained.

“The declaration currently is void of practical concerns of the vulnerable and disenfranchised groups in the society which are left to ponder between the effect of hunger and access to medication and, the detrimental consequences of contracting Covid-19,” Nango said.

Nango further said government should have consulted non-State actors in order to come up with comprehensive strategies that could cushion the public.

“We are cognisant that times are precarious, but as Nango, we strongly feel that the government should have considered some level of virtual consultations with non-State actors in coming up with the package of measures towards the lockdown.

“This would have ensured that critical aspects for the vulnerable groups like homeless people, children in the streets, orphaned and children in vulnerable circumstances, persons with disabilities, women-headed households in vulnerable circumstances, persons living with certain health conditions, elderly people among other disenfranchised groups’ peculiar needs are catered for,” Nango said.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has raised concern on the slow pace of the decentralisation of the testing facilities.

Currently, the National Microbiology Reference Laboratory at Harare Central Hospital is conducting tests of all samples collected from around the country.
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