By Robert Tapfumaneyi
THE African Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $13.7 million grant to finance the COVID-19 response in Zimbabwe.
The funds will provide an immediate lifeline for targeted frontline responders and health personnel and boost the country’s Global Health Security Index in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Approval for the grant was made by the bank’s board of directors on May 13, after a request from the Zimbabwe Government.
The funds, from the African Development Fund (ADF) 14 Transition Support Facility, will go to Zimbabwe’s COVID-19 Response Project (CRP), which aims to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on a country, which is facing many economic and social challenges.
The CRP will focus on 15 high-density urban suburbs in Harare, satellite townships and targeted health facilities in other areas of the country.
Activities under the project include boosting capacity in COVID-19 prevention and management protocols for healthcare personnel and populations in targeted regions, and increasing access to COVID-19 hand washing facilities in Harare, satellite townships and other affected regions.
The project will also supply COVID-19 medical equipment and laboratory test kits, personal protective equipment (PPEs); set up handwashing facilities through rehabilitation/construction of boreholes; and training of healthcare personnel and laboratory technicians at community level on COVID-19 prevention and case management protocols.
The project, which will be implemented by the World Health Organisation, with the country’s Ministry of Health and Child Care acting as executing agency, is expected to directly benefit over 680,000 people.
“It will leverage on planned activities to contribute to strengthening the resilience of the health system, while protecting the livelihoods of the vulnerable population in Zimbabwe beyond the end of the pandemic,” ADB said in a statement Friday.
Zimbabwe is currently facing additional vulnerability challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The nation, like many other across the globe, has responded with a raft of measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus, including restricting movement of people and ordering social distancing in public places like shopping malls and public transport.
The country’s current national lockdown includes school closures, restricted movement of people, restricted business operating times and the closure of pubs, restaurants and churches.
Public gatherings have been limited to 50 people.