THE World Bank (WB) has handed over four fully-equipped ambulances to the Zimbabwe Association of Church Hospitals (ZACH) under the World Bank funded Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project (ZIRP).
By Michael Gwarisa
ZIRP is a unique partnership between the World Bank and United Nations Agencies (UN) to address the early and medium-term resilient disaster recovery needs of Cyclone Idai-affected communities across nine worst affected districts of Manicaland in Zimbabwe.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, Marjorie Mpundu, the World Bank Country Manager (Zimbabwe) said the ambulances are equipped with lifesaving equipment which will enable the recipients -St. Peters, Mt Selinda, Mutambara and Rusitu mission hospitals to provide the first line of treatment to critical patients, hence saving lives.
Further, the selection of the type of vehicle was deliberate to ensure that patients in hard-to-reach areas with rough and rugged terrain will not be left behind. It is our hope that with these ambulances, we will also address the disproportionate impact of disasters and emergencies on vulnerable groups such as women and children and will improve their access to basic health services. Under ZIRP, project partners promote gender equality in maternal, sexual, and reproductive health; as well as access to services for Gender based violence (GBV) survivors,” said Mpundu.
She added that as ZIRP is being implemented through a multi-sectoral approach, the same project is rehabilitating community roads that link to health facilities in the communities of Chimanimani and Chipinge, which were hit hardest by the Cyclone
“The “One Project – One Team” approach has helped us to fully deliver the project outcomes for Cyclone Idai recovery as it brings together expertise in each sector for one goal. Cumulatively, through WHO and UNICEF Health coordinated efforts, ZIRP has reached 661,394 beneficiaries with integrated comprehensive health services.
“In conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, ZIRP conducted trainings for village health workers, medical staff and environmental health technicians in all nine districts of the project. Strengthening the capacity of these community health structures and health workers will ensure that the interventions under ZIRP are sustained beyond the project. We are grateful for the continued support from ZACH and the government of Zimbabwe and have high regard for their mission to promote the highest standards of health care for the benefit of all Zimbabweans.”
Giving her remarks at the same occasion, World Health Organisation (WHO) ZIRP focal point for the Health Sector- Doctor Tsitsi Siwela the ZIRP project has strengthened the health care systems in the cyclone affected districts.
“We have made healthcare services available, accessible, and affordable. Integrated health care services have been provided through the collaborative efforts of WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and UNOPS-CI. Over the 2 years, 656K people have been provided with basic health care services, through mobile outreaches, at health facilities and through VHWs. 5K people have received GBV services,” said Dr Siwela.
She added that health care workers have been capacitated through trainings to offer the correct treatment. Medical supplies (medicines, IPC consumables), equipment (PCR machine, motorbikes, IT gadgets) have been provided and plans to refurbish an isolation center, and construct an incinerator are in progress.
Meanwhile, UNOP Project Lead, Sheila Omom said the ZIRP project has grown both in size and the impact it is making in communities since incecpetion in July 2019.
“UNOPS signed on as project manager for ZIRP in July of 2019 and the project began with five UN agencies- the first time for so many UN agencies to work together under one project. That in itself was a milestone. Today, I am proud that ZIRP has grown in scale with a total now of eight UN agencies, and 11 implementing NGOs.
“Working across multiple sectors of Food Security and livelihoods, Health, WASH, Education, Community Infrastructure, Displacement Tracking and Gender Based Violence surveillance and support, ZIRP has become a viable model to extend economies of scale to donors through coordinated UN engagement while providing a framework for resilience-building and amplification of impact for vulnerable communities,” said Omom.
To date, nearly 660,000 people have received free basic healthcare services while 29,600 households have restored access to water and sanitation facilities. 88,500 students were supported with education supplies to ensure continued learning. 5,400 survivors of GBV have received assistance through ZIRP .ZIRP has produced a report on displaced populations to inform on their needs; and Provided flood and risk maps to inform climate-resilient land use planning.