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COVID-19: Government commends US$234 million support from development partners

Prof Mthuli Ncube, Finance Minister

By Staff Reporter

The government has acknowledged and appreciated the support from Development Partners towards the Covid-19 pandemic response in Zimbabwe.

The nation is in the middle of fighting the second wave of the pandemic which witnessed increased infection rates resulting in an increased number of deaths as compared to the first wave.

The cases rose to a record daily high in early January 2021 with the compounding factor being the new strains which are more infectious and virulent.

In a statement of an update on development partner support towards Covid-19 response, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Child Care has applauded the unwavering support indicating that commitment by Development Partners now stands at US$234 million.

“The government acknowledges and appreciates the support from Development Partners towards the Covid-19 response in cash although not directly but through mostly UN agencies and in kind.

“Whilst our population remains burdened with both communicable and non-communicable diseases such as cancer, hypertension, and diabetes among others, the Covid-19 pandemic is poised to overtake the demand for health facilities,” the statement reads.

The two ministries revealed that disbursements by Development Partners as of 28 January 2021 stand at US$119 million and projected disbursements for 2021 amount to US$134 million.

The support has been targeted towards the eight pillars of the Response Plan which are;(i) coordination, planning and monitoring,(ii) risk communication and community engagement,(iii) surveillance rapid response teams and case investigation,(iv) points of entry, (v) national laboratories, (vi) infection Prevention and control, (vii) case management and procurement, operational support and logistics.

“The Global Support towards Covid-19 response amounts to US$49 million comprising of savings US$4, 949, 082) and new money/Grant(US$45 million).”

Of the US$45 million new Grant, government highlighted, US$17, 5 million worth of equipment has been delivered with US$12,5 million deliveries underway.

They added that ,”The resources have been earmarked towards mitigating Covid-19 impact on HIV, TB, malaria programs reinforcing national Covid-19 response and urgent improvements in health and community systems,” the statement further reads.

Though the support from Global Fund is undoubtedly supporting the fight against combating the virus, Government also pointed out that the lockdown measures that were put in place are currently recording visible successes seen through reducing positivity rates.

The two ministries also communicated that meanwhile, about US$15 million goods have already been ordered for which delivery is expected in the second quarter of 2021.

In as much as the Global Fund is concerned, it has been emphasised that the Ministry of Health and Child Care does not receive cash direct from the Global Fund but only Personal Protective Equipment.

They highlighted that Covid-19 test kits received from the Global Fund are directed to be used in the public sector.

“All the Covid-19 test kits received from the Global Fund system are distributed for use in the public sector laboratories only. The Covid-19 test kits that are purchased through the Global Fund system are administered by the UNDP on behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe.

” It is important to emphasize that NO Global Fund-supported test kits are or were released to the private sector. Instead, the private sector procures its own test kits and this provides the reason for charging fees to their patients.”

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende