ZWL$4.5bn spent on COVID-19 as Japan extends new assistance worth US$3.8m

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Corona Virus
Corona Virus

Farai Mabeza

The Zimbabwean government has so far spent ZWL$4.5 billion towards its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development has said.

An additional US$200 million has been pledged by international partners with only US$60 million of that amount having been availed to date.

The Treasury chief, Mthuli Ncube, said, after signing notes to formalise new COVID-19 assistance from the Japanese government amounting to US$3.8 million, the ZWL$4.5 billion was directed to government’s mitigatory interventions covering both prevention and support to productive sectors as well as support of production in order to limit deeper damage to the economy.

“To this end, direct support amounting to ZWL$4.5 billion went to various Ministries/Departments as follows; capacity building of health staff (training), Procurement of health and laboratory equipment including the consumables, procurement of personnel protective equipment, rehabilitation and construction of isolation units, drilling of boreholes by DDF and production of person protective equipment, especially face masks and sanitizers by our local Universities,” Ncube said.

Japan’s US$3.8 million will be extended in the form of Grant Aid and will be for the provision of medical and hospital equipment to support the country’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The notes to formalise the assistance were signed and exchanged between Ncube and the Japanese ambassador to Zimbabwe, Toshiyuki Iwado.

The equipment, provided to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, will include items such as Japanese-made digital X-ray systems, bedside monitors, defibrillators, electrocardiograms, blood gas analysers, laryngoscopes, and suction units, as well as hospital beds, emergency carts, autoclaves, wheelchairs and IV stands.

It will be installed at 4 central and 8 provincial hospitals where the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is currently implementing the “Quality Improvement of Health Services through the 5S-Kaizen-TQM Approach” project to improve the quality of healthcare and hospital management.

This equipment complements additional medical and hospital equipment to be provided to Sally Mugabe Children’s Hospital through Grant Aid of US$ 2.7 million, signed in January this year. This equipment for Sally Mugabe Children’s Hospital will include, among others, X-ray systems, bedside ICU and CCU monitors, an ultrasound scope, emergency ventilators, operation and examination equipment, as well as beds, cots, and operation and examination tables.

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