Responding to COVID-19 in Zimbabwe

by World Bicycle Relief
May 8, 2020
World Bicycle Relief’s Zimbabwe Senior Program Manager, Irene Mulunjwana, shares about the current threats of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe and how bicycles will help to prevent, respond, and rebuild in this time of global crisis.

Irene Mulunjwana, World Bicycle Relief, Senior Program Manager, Zimbabwe

What’s the biggest challenge people are facing in Zimbabwe right now due to COVID-19?

One of the biggest challenges in Zimbabwe is the lack of mobility during the ongoing national lockdown. No public transport exists in any area of the country. This has greatly impacted the incomes and livelihoods of many people. 

How is COVID-19 affecting families in the communities we serve?

Families are uncertain about the economic prospects post-lockdown and the inability to travel due to lockdown restrictions. People cannot conduct business as usual. As much as there are valid concerns about economic sustenance, for many, there is also fear and concern about the impact of the potential outbreak and the capacity of health facilities to cope.

How will bicycles help frontline health workers serve their clients in the coming days, weeks, and months?

Bicycles will help frontline health workers by providing mobility to their respective health facilities, which are often long distances away in rural, remote setups. The bicycles may be used for contact tracing, medical supply delivery, and information dissemination to households in areas where motorized accessibility is non-existent.

Why is the need for bicycles so strong right now?

The national lockdown has seen the stoppage of all other forms of public transport to mitigate the spread of the disease. Bicycles provide single-user transportation that greatly reduces the spread of the disease and, if strategically used by health workers, can contribute to heightened awareness and management of COVID-19 in both urban and rural areas. Bicycles have the added advantage of the ability to access the most remote households where motorized access may be a challenge.  

What would you like to say to donors who are supporting World Bicycle Relief during this difficult time?

Your contribution toward bicycles can help to save lives in the wake of the biggest pandemic our world is facing. The impact is immediate with bicycles. We increase the number of people who are in the field to access the areas of need. At any given time, you can send 10 people in different directions on bicycles as compared to just one in a vehicle in this time of social distancing.

Bicycles are essential for frontline health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Will you empower them with the tool they need to care for their communities?

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