Health Ministry in US$9m Health Resilience Fund boost

By Kudakwashe Pembere

Zimbabwe’s Health and Child Care Ministry received medicines and equipment for use in maternal and neonatal care as well as cholera care from the Health Resilience Fund worth over US$9 million.

Speaking at the handover ceremony held at the National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm) warehouse, Deputy Health and Child Care Minister Honorable Sleiman Kwidini commended the funding and implementing partners of the HRF for procuring these medical essentials noting they will take the country to greater heights in its quest to provide quality healthcare.

“You know how difficult it is when you want to perform a surgery and or something, and you don’t have a modern or adequate resources to use. Like I’m happy, before promotion, before I got where I am, I was working in theater.

“You know, in theater you’ll be doing a lot of jobs to save lives, and you need a modern technology equipment so that you perform your duties without any challenges and problems.

“But I’m very happy now that our partners, UNFPA, UNICEF, even the EU representative people are funding these programs. We are very pleased.

“Continue doing that because as the ministry and the government at large, we are going there to be in that world where health is going to be commendable, especially from Zimbabwe, because we understand most of our people are moving out of the country to seek medical treatment. With this, I believe and I tell you, ladies and gentlemen, we are going to be far,” Kwidini said. “. Indeed, the medical supplies and equipment procured through the HRF technical and Implementing Partners, partners UNICEF and UNFPA that we are receiving today will no doubt go a long way in enhancing health service delivery in our country in line with our national health strategy 2021 to 2025 which is in National Development Strategy 1.”

Kwidini also said the HRF, a pooled fund of US$90 million running from 2022 to 2025, has helped the country reduce maternal mortality.

“Indeed, the medical supplies and equipment procured through the HRF technical and Implementing Partners, partners UNICEF and UNFPA that we are receiving today will no doubt go a long way in enhancing health service delivery in our country in line with our national health strategy 2021 to 2025 which is in NDS 1,” he said. “Distinguished guests, the government of Zimbabwe under the able leadership of the President of Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency, Dr. E.D  Mnangagwa is seized with a robust socio-economic reform agenda to make this country a prosperous and empowered upper-middle income society by year 2030. As a sector we are guided by the overall vision 2030 and national development strategy NDS 1-2025 which identifies health as essential to human happiness and well-being, making it an important contributor to economic progress as populations live longer, are more productive and have less disease burden, which results in reduced individual health expenditure.”

HRF steering committee co-chair and Programmes manager at the Embassy of Ireland Mr Dumisile Msimanga explained it was through meetings with the Health ministry they agreed on procuring the items they identified as top priority amongst the three pillars namely Ending Preventable Deaths, Health Systems Strengthening and Global Health Security.

“We are gathered here to witness the handover of Medical Equipment and Commodities procured by the HRF through UNFPA and UNICEF.

“The HRF places a strong emphasis on sustainable and long-lasting investments, that will stay on, well after the end of the program, and what we are witnessing here today is a good example. It will be good to walk into a health facility and still be able to say, Together, we achieved this,” he said.

UNFPA representative to Zimbabwe Miranda Tabifor said they contributed US$3.7 million

“And within that big amount of six million that has been procured, UNFPA being one of the executing agencies of the United Nations implementing the Health Resilience Fund, we through the leadership of the ministry as advice and the steering committee of the HRF, we have contributed US$3.7 million to procure what we are going to be handing over today and we will have the time to see that.

“And some of the supplies which we don’t want to list, the chairperson of that fund has mentioned a list of them, that that amount of US$3.7 million is from the bulk that we had from our UNICEF representative,” he said.

UNICEF Representative to Zimbabwe Dr Nicholas Alipui gave a breakdown of the items bought by the Fund adding another US$7.5 million shall buy procure more medicines and nutrition commodities.

“Honorable Deputy Minister, ladies and gentlemen, today on behalf of the Health Resilience Fund, we are handing over commodities worth some $6 million consisting of US$1.5 million in nutrition commodities, $3.3 million in essential medicines, some $782,000 in maternal, newborn, and child health equipment consisting of suction machines, CPAP machines, cesarean section packs, delivery, beds, resuscitation equipment, and many, many more.

“We will have a chance to see in a moment, and about US$150,000 in cholera response commodities and equipment. These supplies and equipment will be distributed equitably to all districts and provinces through the NATPHARM, our partners, to try and improve especially the availability of essential medicines at the Primary health care facility level, the so-called last mile in our delivery.

“For your information, Deputy Honorable Minister of Health, friends and colleagues, the Health Resilience Fund has already also allocated an additional $7.5 million for the procurement of more essential medicines, nutrition commodities, for which the order is already in progress and delivery is expected in the months to come,” he said.

NatPharm board chairperson Ms Ruth Kaseke said the donation is also in line with the government’s aim to reducing the maternity mortality rate by 10% by 2028.

“To that end, we are grateful for the equipment that is being handed over for the routine and emergency management of maternal complications, and we are positive it will make a difference to the maternal health services in Zimbabwe,” she said.

She said while NatPharm is mandated to store and distribute medicines, they will not delay in taking the medicines to clinics and hospitals across the country.

“As NatPharm, its part of our warehousing mandate. It is also anticipated that once the handover has been done, the Ministry will then facilitate the distribution of the equipment and the medicines to the last mile where the beneficiaries are resident.

“We do not anticipate to install these items for a week or two more in terms of time. We would like to move and the Ministry, the government through the Ministry of Health has already equipped NatPharm to be able to do that with the distribution fleet that we will take,” Ms Kaseke said.

 

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