Development partners have pledged US$234 million towards the country’s Covid-19 response as Government warns that the pandemic is set to stretch the health sector.
In a joint statement yesterday, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube and Health and Child Care acting Minister Professor Amon Murwira said the funds were disbursed through the United Nations agencies to support the country’s Covid-19 fight.
“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. The support has been targeted towards the eight pillars of the Response Plan as follows; Coordination, Planning and monitoring; Risk communication and Community engagement; Surveillance, Rapid response teams and case investigation; Points of entry; National laboratories; Infection prevention and control; Case management; and Procurement, operational support and logistics,” read the joint statement.
“The commitment by development partners now stands at US$234 million. Disbursements by the development partners as at 28 January 2021 stands at US$119 million. Projected disbursements for 2021 amount to US$134 million. The Global Fund support towards the Covid-19 response amounts to US$49 million, comprising of savings (US$4 949 082) and new money/Grant (US$45 million). These 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. Of the US$45 million new grant, US$17,5 million worth of equipment has been delivered, US$12,5 million deliveries are underway. Meanwhile, about US$15 million goods have already been ordered for which delivery is expected in the second quarter of 2021.”
The Ministers said while Government gets support from developmental agencies, the funds are not directly disbursed.
“The Ministry of Health and Child Care does not receive direct cash from the Global Fund but only Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Covid-19 test kits that are purchased through the Global Fund system and administered by the UNDP on behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe.
“All the Covid-19 test it received from the Global Fund system are distributed for use in the public sector laboratories only. It is important to emphasise 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,” read the statement.
The Minister warned that Covid-19 is set to stretch the country’s constrained health sector.
“While our population remains burdened with both communicable diseases 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 nation is in the middle of fighting a second wave of the pandemic which witnessed increased infection rates resulting in an increased number of deaths compared with the first wave. Cases rose to a record daily high in early January 2021 with the compounding factor being the new strains which is more infectious and virulent,” said the ministers.
They said lockdown measures that were put in place are recording visible successes seen through reducing positivity rates.