Team Europe partners with WHO in strengthening epidemic preparedness and response to COVID-19 in Botswana

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The World Health Organization (WHO) country office in collaboration with the European Union Delegation in Botswana and the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW) officially launched the 13,6 million BWP project “Strengthening epidemic preparedness and response to COVID-19 to reduce excess morbidity and mortality due to COVID-19 and other epidemic-prone diseases in the high-risk population in Botswana”. The initiative is funded by the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).

During the event that was held in Gaborone on 25 March 2021, COVID-19 case management equipment and supplies worth about 1,45 million BWP were handed over. This is directed to contribute to the MoHW COVID-19 surge response plan. The ceremony was graced by the presence of the Honourable Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Edwin Dikoloti, His Excellency Ambassador Jan Sadek representing Team Europe, the WHO Country Representative in Botswana, Dr. Josephine Namboze, heads of diplomatic missions, UN agencies, and other development partners.

The epidemic preparedness and response capacity to COVID-19 are enhanced by the provision of technical assistance to MoHW at all levels of the health system. This has been and continues to be achieved through a strong coordination and leadership mechanism for emergency preparedness and response. Speaking at the launch, Minister Dr. Edwin. Dikoloti indicated that the support from the two partners has covered the breadth of the health system and focused on some life-changing areas such as the capacity to test for COVID-19 in-country. “This has been a game-changer and remains one of the key success factors for the national response,” said the Minister.

“This pandemic will forever be remembered. It has shown the vulnerability of the whole world to public health threats of international concern and has reminded us of the need for health security as a concerted effort of governments and partners”, said the WHO Country Representative, Dr. Josephine Namboze. She further emphasized that the project provides technical assistance through refresher training with a focus on surveillance; improved data management; logistics to reach remote health facilities; provision of life-saving medical supplies and commodities, testing kits for strengthening laboratory for early detection and outbreak investigations.

On his part, Ambassador Jan Sadek announced that “the European Union is a staunch supporter of multilateralism and a loyal partner to the United Nations, therefore he is pleased to have joined hands with the WHO office in Botswana to support the Ministry of Health and Wellness’s surveillance and response capacity in these critical times”. His Excellency further added that this commitment is part of a larger EU humanitarian package of almost 900 million BWP financed by the humanitarian office ECHO for countries in southern Africa to help support people impacted by COVID-19, drought, and other humanitarian crises that persist in the region.

In the remaining months until the completion of the project further workshops will be conducted to train laboratory health workers on sentinel surveillance for Influenza-like Illnesses/Severe Acute (ILI/SA) and roll-out the implementation of surveillance for Influenza. Looking ahead, activities include plans to strengthen country preparedness and response structures through the establishment of the National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). The ECHO funding is providing a hopeful outlook for Botswana’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has devastated many countries across the world.

For Additional Information or to Request Interviews, Please contact:

Cristina Birsan
External Relations and Partnerships Officer
Tel (Whatsapp): +26774620807