By Robert Tapfumaneyi
THE United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided Zimbabwe with US$6 million for the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The funds were channeled through UNICEF and it will assist in infection prevention and control measures including water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health, and child protection interventions.
“The United States remains committed to responding to ongoing healthcare and humanitarian needs,” Art Brown USAID/Zimbabwe Mission director said.
“Together with our partners, USAID ensures healthcare facilities can continue to provide services in a safe environment for both healthcare workers and clients.
“We will also continue to protect those most vulnerable to the increased rates of gender-based violence that we have seen during the pandemic.”
Under the programme, 300 frontline healthcare workers will be trained in Covid-19 case management, adherence to infection prevention, and control best practices.
At least 100 health centres will be supplied with personal protective equipment (PPEs).
UNICEF Zimbabwe representative Tajudeen Oyewale said the international relief organisation was grateful to the United States, as part of its global collaborative efforts in the support to fight the pandemic in Zimbabwe.
“The availability of WASH in healthcare facilities, quality case management, and psychosocial support services will go a long way in the protection of all – particularly women and children – who are greatly affected by the impact of Covid-19,” Oyewale said.
“The funds provided will be invaluable to help continue supporting the country with an effective COVID-19 response,” he added.
USAID’s funding will reduce the risk of infection and improve access to health care by upgrading WASH infrastructure for 75 health centres.
The funds will also help UNICEF scale-up psychosocial support and referral services for at-risk children, women, and survivors of gender-based violence (GBV).
UNICEF will also sensitise adolescent girls and young women on available post-GBV support and promote uptake of the services, including the roll-out of a new mobile application.