THE United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has trained more than 8,200 healthcare workers and experts to provide technical support at health facilities in Zimbabwe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
By Michael Gwarisa
Speaking during a virtual roundtable meeting with journalists, newly appointed USAID mission director in Zimbabwe, Mr Art Brown said the United States government was committed to improving lives of ordinary Zimbabweans through poverty alleviation, eliminating hunger and improving health standards.
One of the major priorities that we have that I have stumbled into is the COVID-19 Pandemic that we are all dealing with. The US Government’s current investment so far is at least US$19.3 Million that we have committed to working with Zimbabwe to deal with COVID-19.
“This includes everything from training doctors and nurses to better deal with case management and to sustain capacity at some of the healthcare facilities that are dealing with COVID-19,” said Brown.
He also encouraged the government of Zimbabwe to negotiate and have a cordial working relationship with healthcare workers as they are the front-line workers dealing with the COVID-19 impact.
“Initially, there is the health infrastructure deficit and then we have all been impacted by the COVID-19. Trough the investments of the US government, we are talking about our budget this year is over US$300 million and majority of this is going to be spent on humanitarian assistance mainly in terms of health and the recipients are receiving that direct assistance.
“Since 2006, the US government’s intervention in Zimbabwean society has been able to decrease HIV death by 80% over 15 years. That is an example of touching recipients directly. The fact that we have got Antiretroviral (ARV) medication that hasn’t been interrupted in the supply chain since COVID-19 is another example that we can talk to citizens about in terms of reaching the people.”
He added that the USAID was engaging with the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) to look at how they may address some of the essential health services currently under siege. These include maternal and neonatal healthcare among other services.
Meanwhile as USAID is working with other partners to provide humanitarian food assistance to millions of Zimbabweans across the country. As part of USAID’s $70 million humanitarian food assistance packages, the USAID has contributed US$10 million in response to the worsening humanitarian situation in urban areas.
USAID is set to provide relief through electronic transfers to over 103,000 people in eight urban areas (Ruwa, Gokwe Centre, Chegutu, Buhera, Chipinge, Chinhoyi, Redcliff, and Kwekwe). This assistance will improve household ability to access food from markets between Aug 2020 and Jan 2021.
Mr Art Brown Biography:
Mr. Arthur W. Brown’s most recent assignment was in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic where he served as Mission Director for nearly four years. He is in his 28th year of federal service with the United States Government. Mr. Brown is a Senior Foreign Service Officer who has been posted as Mission Director in Nicaragua, and Deputy Mission Director in Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has prior experience in Botswana, Guinea, Nigeria, and covered regional activities in Sierra Leone, and Namibia. He started his career in international development as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin and has dedicated his entire career to serve, empower communities, and build the capacity of institutions to advance human dignity. He comes to Zimbabwe at a time when COVID-19 cases are beginning to escalate and is determined to lead his team to help the people of Zimbabwe proposer and live longer, healthier lives. He is married to a Family Nurse Practitioner, who is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Togo), and they have a son and daughter together. He brings with him an impressive leadership record, and a wealth of experience.