THE Global Fund has given Zimbabwe USD25 million for the preparedness and response of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said on Monday.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
Briefing journalists on the state of the nation regarding the COVID-19 virus, Dr Moyo said they have drawn down about 5percent of the Global Fund grant of USD500 million.
“We have been given USD25 million by the Global Fund. That’s true. It’s a reality. We have taken 5 percent of their global fund contribution to Zimbabwe. Five percent works out to USD25 million and we are just waiting for the final go ahead for us to start utilizing that money,” he said.
Development partners have also given Zimbabwe their contributions for the preparedness and response with the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID)giving the country £1, 7 million (USD2, 1 million) while the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF financing risk communication and capacitation of health workers in Zimbabwe. Mimosa donated thermal detection equipment and Zimplats pledged Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials.
“I must point out that there is a huge demand worldwide for safety products, your protective personal equipment, the space suits, the masks and all that. There is a huge demand worldwide. We are trying our best to get as much as we can. Some countries are even banning the export of face masks and these other products. We are working through our contacts to make sure we get adequate supplies. We are also talking to the local manufacturers so that they can be able to start stitching up local products rather than for us to wait for imports. That’s what we are doing,” Dr Moyo said.
He also said they are considering banning of mass gatherings while waiting for Cabinet’s nod as the country will be celebrating the Easter and Independence Holidays next month. Also awaiting cabinet’s approval is the closure of official points of entry and schools. He said while waiting for that Zimbabweans should behave as if the virus is in country practicing hygiene like washing hands with soap or alcohol based hand sanitisers, not touching the face of the nose.
He said the country is in a constant preparation for the disease doing emergency drills all the time leaving no stone unturned, learning from the gaps observed from members of the public and the press.
The Health Minister said the President, Emmerson Mnangagwa will be launching Zimbabwe’s preparedness and response plan on Thursday at the State House.
He also said they will be deploying police officers with thermodetectors for fever checking at undesignated points of entry in the country to look out for those utilizing them.