Herald Reporter

Development partners in the health sector have extended to Zimbabwe aid commitments worth US$234 million, just over half of which has already been disbursed in response to Covid-19 and this has also mitigated the impact of the infection on people with other medical conditions.

Government yesterday listed and quantified the assistance given in a joint statement by Acting Minister of Health and Child Care Professor Amon Murwira and Finance and Economic Development Minister Prof Mthuli Ncube.

“Whilst 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 ministers said.

“So the Government acknowledges and appreciates the support from development partners towards the Covid-19 response in cash, usually allocated through UN agencies, and in kind,” they added.

The support has been targeted towards the eight pillars of the response plan: 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.

“The commitment by development partners now stands at US$234 million. Disbursements by the development partners as at January 28, 2021, stand at US$119 million. Projected disbursements for 2021 amount to US$134 million,” said the ministers.

The Global Fund support towards the Covid-19 response amounted to US$49 million, comprising of savings (US$4 949 082) and new money and grants (US$45 million).

“These resources have been earmarked towards mitigating Covid-19 impact on HIV, TB, and malaria programmes, reinforcing national Covid-19 response and urgent improvements in health and community systems,” the two ministers said.

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

“Meanwhile, an estimated US$15 million goods have already been ordered for which delivery is expected in the second quarter of 2021.”

The ministers said the Ministry of Health and Child Care did not receive cash from the Global Fund, but gets the actual personal protective equipment and Covid-19 test kits that are bought through the Global Fund system and administered by the UNDP on behalf of Government.

“All the Covid-19 test kits 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,” the ministers said.

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