Zimbabwe gets US$25m to fight Covid-19
Andile Tshuma, Chronicle reporter
THE GLOBAL Fund will avail US$25 million in the next five days to help Zimbabwe fight Covid-19 and the money will be used for emergency response preparations at infectious diseases hospitals, including at Bulawayo’s Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital.
Speaking at a Press conference, the Global Fund’s executive director, Dr Peter Sands, who is on his maiden visit to Zimbabwe, said he was glad that he came at an opportune time to be able to see how the country is responding to emergencies, in this case Covid-19.
Zimbabwe has not recorded any positive case of coronavirus, but neighbouring South Africa has recorded seven cases so far.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care activated mechanism for surveillance and early detection of the virus on January 24 after the outbreak in China weeks earlier.
Dr Sands commended the country for appropriately using Global Fund money for projects and for also contributing to the pool of funding.
“Working with a country such as Zimbabwe is encouraging. We received $1 million contribution to the global fund from the Zimbabwean Government. While Zimbabwe has gotten $500 million in return for the fight against TB, malaria and HIV, that $1 million contribution shows the country’s commitment and support to the work of the Global Fund,” said Dr Sands.
“This is the first time that the Global Fund executive is in Zimbabwe and we have chosen Bulawayo as statistics have shown that it suffers the most from HIV in the country. We also want to be able to see the actual projects that are happening and changing people’s lives and not only rely on power point presentations back in Geneva there. Bulawayo is lovely, beautiful city and I am glad that we came here.”
Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said the US$25 million will be used in emergency response preparations for the country’s infectious diseases hospitals.
“We are grateful to be receiving this money. As Dr Peter Sands has already said, we are going to be getting five percent of our global fund triennial allocations. So, it is US$25 million that we will receive and it will be facilitated in the next five days. It has been fast tracked so that as a country we are able to prepare and tackle the virus head on should we have to,” said Dr Moyo.
He said Government was working to refurbish Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital in Bulawayo.
The Minister said part of the US$25 million fund will go towards the refurbishment of the hospital and purchase of equipment.
“We want to spruce up the hospitals so that any clients who have to be isolated in the facilities are very comfortable. There will be partners coming through to take a look at what they are like and be able to come up with a comprehensive refurbishment plan. We have our contractors who work very fast. Besides the issues of protective equipment. Thorngrove is a key isolation area after Wilkins and then Victoria Falls. We want each and every hospital to have an isolation unit, a quarantine unit country wide. We want a situation here if Covid-19 is to come, every provincial hospital and referral hospital is able to deal with Covid-19,” said the minister.
Dr Obadiah Moyo said the ministry was increasing the number of port health officers at the country’s ports of entry, specifically the Beitbridge boarder post which is the busiest.-@andile_tshuma