US pledges $150 000 for Zim COVID-19 prevention initiative

  • The US to provide US$150 000 in COVID-19 fight
  • Funds to assist mostly COVID-19 HIV infected patients

THE United States government on Tuesday said it intends to provide US$150 000 to help Zimbabwe fight COVID-19.

According to a statement released today (Tuesday), the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) fund would specifically target COVD-19 infected people living with HIV/Aids.

In a Press statement by the country’s public affairs officer, Kenneth Wetzel, the US said the PEPFAR funding would include the purchase of soaps, buckets, hand-washing items and sanitisers for supported facilities, including the reproduction of COVID-19 communication materials to be shared at supported facilities and through faith-based and community networks around Zimbabwe.

“Three PEPFAR clinical implementing partners, Organisation for Public Health Interventions and Development, International Training and Education Centre for Health and Zimbabwe Association of Church-related Hospitals will carry out the activities,” read the statement.

“Since 1980, the US has provided over US$$1 billion in health assistance to strengthen (the country’s) health systems, so that Zimbabweans can live longer, healthier lives,” the statement revealed.

The US$150 000 are in addition to the United States Agency for International Development (USAid)’s US$470 000 contribution to the World Health Organisation (WHO) to support Zimbabwe’s fight against COVID-19.

The statement also said using the funding, WHO would help with provision of other life-saving mechanisms such as preparing laboratories for the large-scale testing of COVID-19 infections, implementing a public-health emergency plan for points of entry, and activating case-finding and evidence-based surveillance for influenza-like illnesses.

The US said it was also committed to the continued care and treatment of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) in Zimbabwe.

“PLHIV who are not on treatment or virally suppressed may be at a greater risk of developing severe symptoms of COVID-19.

“All PLHIV need to take precautions, including keeping at least three-months supply of Anti-retrovirals to their homes, washing hands frequently, practising social spacing and avoiding others who are similarly sick,” further read the statement.

PEPFAR’s efforts in supporting the response to the COVID-19 pandemic is aimed to ensure that PLHIV have the best possible outcomes within the context of over-stretched healthcare systems, the statement read.