The United States through the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has donated another US$3 million, bringing its total support against the COVID-19 fight in Zimbabwe to over US$6 million.
The recent donation comes from the US Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to support Zimbabwe’s COVID-19 National Preparedness and Response Plan.
In a statement from the US Embassy in Harare, this new donation would assist Zimbabwe to continue to respond to the increasingly dire humanitarian situation in the country.
CDC will award the new funding in early May 2020 through existing CDC Zimbabwe implementing partners: ICAP at Columbia University, the Biomedical Research and Training Institute (BRTI), and the International Training and Education Centre for Health (ITECH).
CDC Acting Country Director Dr Kelsey Mirkovic said the US funding and technical support builds on the long-standing partnership and investments to contribute to a healthier Zimbabwe.
“The goal of the CDC and US global health response to COVID-19 is to limit human-to-human transmission and minimize the global impact of COVID-19 through partnership with countries, multilateral and non-governmental partners to mitigate vulnerabilities and gaps in preparedness,” he said.
US Public Affairs Officer Kenneth Wetzel concurred the programmes would increase laboratory diagnostic capacity; enhance central and district-level surveillance; strengthen infection, prevention, and control in healthcare facilities; and support vaccine preparedness.
“CDC will also use approximately US$75 000, part of the US$150 000 previously announced President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) funds, to support COVID-19 prevention measures for people living with HIV.”
He said 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 Government of Zimbabwe to develop COVID-19 case definitions, protocols for surveillance, contact tracing, quarantine, infection prevention and control, treatment, and diagnostic testing,” Wetzel listed.
CDC’s support aims to enhance COVID-19 response capabilities while building longer-term, sustainable capacity to respond to highly communicable diseases in the future.
Through ICAP, CDC provides vehicles and supplies from Zimbabwe Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (ZIMPHIA) activities to fight COVID-19.
The United States has 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,” said the US Public Affairs Officer.
“The United States Government is monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic globally and remains committed to directing and allocating resources based on changing epidemiology and response requirements.”