Zim not addressing Covid-19 psychological impact – UN diplomat

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By Staff Reporter

A United Nations representative to Zimbabwe says countries should escalate their Covid-19 fight beyond physical interventions currently being undertaken but also the psychological impact of the pandemic.

UN Women Country Director for Zimbabwe, Delphine Serumaga, in a virtual presentation to social workers on the impact of Covid-19, said more needed to be done by Zimbabwe in the area of psychological impact of the virus.

“We have been caught off guard. Looking at the impact of Covid-19, we must not only look on the health aspect, therefore we must not only look at a health response or just the medicinal clinal aspect in that sense.

“We must also look at the psychological impact of the scourge. The psychological impact has not been taken well enough that’s why men and women are responding differently to the impact,” she said.

“From a health perspective, men are more infected than women at the present moment and we don’t know why.”

The UN diplomat noted the pandemic has consequently shifted gender roles with men now struggling to cope with the changing dynamics.

“Socially, where men engaged in traditional gender roles, they are forced to recognise that they are now in this with the rest of the household.

“Taking on the issues of socialisation and sharing the burden so there is a drastic change of socialisation.

“We are in a war with the unknown. One phenomenon people must know about this is that when a society is at war or in conflict, the gender imbalance shifts.

“At times women are then in control in society and become decision makers and responders.

“This is what is happening now at least at household level. Even though it is very hard,” she said.