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Southern Africa Trust |

Rural Women’s Assembly 2020 Annual Report

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Human Development

2020 is a year that will not easily be forgotten. The COVID (C-19) pandemic has without doubt been the biggest disruptor to our lives in recent history. No territory has been spared the impact of the SARS-Cov-2 and its various impacts whether these are health related or the number of cases or deaths (direct and indirect) – most health systems globally have been tested. Sadly, health systems in South Africa and Southern Africa, which were already in a rather fragile state as a result of the austerity measures and the marginalisation of health and other public services over the past decades, fared poorly. Hospitals struggled because of the unavailability of medicines and health equipment, suffi cient health workers and facilities for testing, laboratory services, beds, etc. 2,46 million women and men succumbed to the C-19 pandemic globally. In the SADC region, South Africa stood out with over 1,4 million infections and the large numbers of people that succumbed to the virus. In South Africa, hundreds of health care professionals lost their lives, and many were infected by C-19. The pandemic also exposed the deep socio-economic inequalities in the region and the daily experiences of local people in accessing basic goods and needs such as shelter, food and water. Additionally, most countries in the region implemented National States of Disasters (Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe), States of Emergencies (Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, eSwatini (formerly known as Swaziland), Lesotho, Mozambique and Namibia) and Declarations of Public Health Emergencies (Botswana, Madagascar) as ways of coping with the impact of the pandemic.

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