President Mnangagwa yesterday launched Zimbabwe’s US$26 million preparedness and response plan for coronavirus aimed at building an integrated and coordinated strategy on preventing the spread of the virus causing Covid-19 and mitigating its effects.
He said coronavirus was almost certain to reach Zimbabwe, hence the need for a detailed plan to minimise its effects and spread.
“It is no longer a matter of if or but when our country will have these cases”.
The total budget will be spent in eight areas identified by the Ministry of Health and Child Care with the support of the World Health Organisation (WHO). The areas and their allocations are:
Planning, monitoring and coordination US$1 424 100;
Risk communication and community engagement US$1 098 500;
Surveillance, rapid response and case investigation US$4 159 890;
Points of entry US$112 440;
National laboratory system US$3 119 454;
Infection prevention and control US$238 850;
Case management US$4 090 540; and
Logistics, procurement and supply management US$12 144 606.
The plan was crafted by the Ministry of Health and Child Care with technical support from other partners based on eight pillars set by the World Health Organisation.
Launching the plan, President Mnangagwa said no country was immune to the disease and Government was committed to stopping Covid-19 in its tracks.
He said given the fast rate at which coronavirus was spreading, Zimbabwe could no longer afford to continue with a “business as usual approach” and so should step up its efforts to be prepared.
“As Zimbabwe, we cannot continue with business as usual approach, as it is no longer a matter of if but when our country will have these cases,” said President Mnangagwa.
“Around 200 000 people have tested positive to the coronavirus globally and around 7 000 have died due to the disease worldwide. Closer home, around 30 or more African countries have confirmed cases of Covid-19 and in our region, seven out of 16 Sadc countries have confirmed cases.
“Considering the scale and magnitude of the spread of this virus, it is very clear that no country is immune from the disease and its impact. With our HIV prevalence of 14 percent in Zimbabwe or slightly below and malnutrition and other non-communicable diseases, especially among children, we are deeply concerned about the impact Covid-19 could have in Zimbabwe.
“This situation is a real threat to the citizens of our mother country. My Government through the Ministry of Health and Child Care has put in place and continues to enhance measures to minimise the import of COVID-19 into the country and ensure health safety of citizens of our country.”
President Mnangagwa said the world over, Governments had activated emergency modes, as the number of cases, the number deaths and the number of affected countries had increased significantly.
He said although Covid-19 was first reported in China, the total number of cases and deaths outside China had now overtaken the total number of cases in China with Europe now being the epicentre of the pandemic.
Said President Mnangagwa: “The national emergency preparedness and response mechanism and surveillance and early detection of any possible cases was activated and will remain active until after the World Health Organisation has removed the global health alert. Our preparedness measures have been stepped up through heightened surveillance systems at national, provincial and district levels with special focus on all ports of entry throughout the country with mandatory screening of all visitors having already started and all our Government buildings and infrastructure should be screened with immediate effect.
“In addition, active surveillance and follow ups continue to be done to minimise the spread of the Covid-19 in Zimbabwe.
“As of March 13 2020, around 10 000 travellers had been screened at our ports of entry and put on surveillance. All our hospitals remain on high alert for the Covid-19. Work is in progress to strengthen the capacity of identifying isolation centres that are able to manage severe cases throughout the country.
“There is no confirmed case yet in Zimbabwe but considering the volume of traffic and other countries in the region and internationally, we need to step up and enhance our preparedness and response to the scourge.”
The launch of the Zimbabwe preparedness and response plan at State House was also attended by Vice President Kembo Mohadi, Cabinet Ministers, United Nations officials and diplomats affiliated to the country.