WHO Donates COVID–19 supplies to strengthen the health system’s response to the pandemic

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The WHO Country Representative, Dr. Nathan Bakyaita and the African Development Bank Manager, Mary Monyau on 1 July 2021 handed over a donation of COVID -19 supplies worth one million United States dollars to support the health system’s response to the pandemic. The donation which included personal protective equipment, ventilators, laboratory reagents and test kits has been made possible through support provided to the WHO Country Office by the African Development Bank working in collaboration with the Southern African Development Community (SADC). This support has been channeled through a project which is aimed at strengthening epidemic preparedness and response and purchase of biomedical equipment, personal protective equipment and diagnostics.

The Permanent Secretary for Technical Services at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Kennedy Malama received the donation during the national COVID-19 briefing. He stated that the country was experiencing a surge in the number of cases and deaths and called for unity of purpose and continued support in implementation of the national multi-sectoral plan. He thanked the Southern African Development Community, African Development Bank and the WHO Country Office for supporting the key pillars in the response. Dr Malama said that the donation would help the country in its prevention efforts and treatment of those affected. He also commended the ADB, SADC and WHO for taking a regional approach to supporting countries while emphasizing the fact that no country was safe until all were safe.

Speaking during the ceremony, the WHO Representative, Dr. Nathan Bakyaita, said that with the covid-19 resurgence, WHO was working with other UN agencies and other partners to urgently boost all interventions and critical care capacity including ensuring sufficient supplies of oxygen which is a critical requirement. “This situation makes it even more urgent that we use all the tools at our disposal to prevent transmission: the consistent adherence to the five golden rules in combination with vaccination” He said.

The African Development Bank manager, Ms. Mary Monyau recognized the leadership role government had taken through the Ministry of Health to combat the COVID-19 pandemic through sensitizing communities, securing vaccines and providing medical services to the population. She said the African Development Bank working in Collaboration with the Southern African Development Community and the WHO Country Office was providing support to Zambia as part of a project aimed at strengthening capacity to respond to COVID 19 as well as reinforcing the regional coordination of SADC member states in mitigating measures against the regional spread of COVID 19. She said that the donation was part of the 1.6 million United States Dollars fund earmarked for provision of critical supplies and complementary capacity development in the country.

Africa’s third wave is picking up speed, spreading faster, and hitting harder than the second. Zambia is among the 18 countries in Africa reporting an increasing trend in new cases and was among the five that accounted for 70% of covid-19 cases during the month of June. The number of deaths reported during this third wave are also higher than those reported during the second wave and the country is among the five African countries reporting high numbers of death.

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