By Mary Taruvinga
THE United States (US) has pledged an additional US$3 million to support Zimbabwe’s COVID-19 National Preparedness and Response plan bringing the amount donated by the same government to US$6 million.
The funding was availed through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“CDC will award the new funding in early May 2020 through existing CDC Zimbabwe implementing partners, ICAP at Columbia University, the Biomedical Research & Training Institute (BRTI), and the International Training and Education Center for Health (ITECH),” said the US in a statement.
“Programmes will increase laboratory diagnostic capacity; enhance central and district-level surveillance; strengthen infection, prevention, and control in healthcare facilities; and support vaccine preparedness.”
According to the statement, CDC will also use approximately US$75,000, part of the US$150,000 previously announced by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) funds, to support COVID-19 prevention measures for People Living with HIV (PLHIV).
In addition, the CDC also supports Zimbabwe through technical assistance.
CDC Zimbabwe has several public health experts serving and supporting as co-chairs and technical experts in government entities established by Zimbabwe’s national plan, including surveillance and epidemiology, infection prevention and control, laboratory, case management, and risk communication and community engagement.
CDC technical assistance, together with other partner support, has assisted the Zimbabwean government to develop COVID-19 case definitions, protocols for surveillance, contact tracing, quarantine, infection prevention and control, treatment, and diagnostic testing.
The US says the goal of the CDC and U.S. global health response to COVID-19 is to limit human-to-human transmission and minimise the global impact of COVID-19 through a partnership with countries, multilateral and non-governmental partners.
“This US funding and technical support build on our long-standing partnership and investments to contribute to a healthier Zimbabwe,” said Kelsey Mirkovic, CDC acting country director.
“The United States has been a long-standing development partner for the people of Zimbabwe. We invested over US$370 million in health, humanitarian, and development assistance in 2019. We are working tirelessly to ensure that we maintain critical health and humanitarian assistance activities, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” she added.