ZIMBABWE’S finance ministry, the World Bank Group, as the Fund Administrator of the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program and the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Trust Fund have singed a US$6.6 Million COVID-19 response grant with the aim of supporting the deployment and management of COVID-19 vaccines.
By Staff Reporter
According to the World Bank, financing for the project, which comes in the form of a grant, aims to support the deployment and management of COVID-19 vaccines and strengthen related health system capacity in Zimbabwe. the grant will ensure adequate vaccine deployment activities including outreach, equipment, and training of health care workers. It will also support the implementation of a tracking system to monitor and ensure equitable vaccine coverage.
In his acceptance remarks, Minister of Finance, Professor Mthuli Ncube said, “While the government has already committed at least $100 million to finance vaccine procurement, we are pleased to sign this agreement as it will enable us to leverage our existing efforts through a package of prioritized activities to address operational inefficiencies and inequities in access and uptake of vaccines, and other selected COVID-19 response activities.”
These activities will be complemented by interventions that strengthen the capacity for routine modeling and genomic sequencing analysis to provide timely information on hotspots and groups to be targeted for vaccination. In addition, the project will finance activities that increase community level knowledge on vaccination benefits vis-a-vis risks through strengthened communication and community engagement while also enhancing the capacity of health workers to implement appropriate infection prevention and control measures.
The project will also support the implementation of a systemic institutional approach that is responsive to client concerns/grievances and strengthen sector governance, by expanding the implementation of a transparent tracking system for COVID-19 response commodities.
Meanwhile, Mara Warwick, the World Bank Country Director for Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania and Malawi said “The project (ZCERP) will provide essential resources to support the deployment of vaccines that meet the World Bank’s Vaccine Approval Criteria, improving health system capacity for a sustained and comprehensive pandemic response in Zimbabwe.”
The project, which will be implemented by the Catholic Organization for Relief and Development Aid (CORDAID-Project Implementing Entity), includes a climate friendly related health system strengthening component that supports vaccine deployment. It will finance capacity building, climate-friendly cold chain equipment including solar direct drive refrigerators, refrigerated trucks, and installation and maintenance of solar systems in health facilities.
The ZCERP builds on $7 million in financing that the World Bank mobilized in operational support to the health sector in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.