US$32m needed for Covid-19 response

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has revealed.

This comes as the government has warned that more people could contract the lethal virus in the country due to the growing number of Zimbabweans returning from abroad, with the number of positive cases having shot up to 160.

In its Covid-19 situation assessment report released last week, the OCHA indicated that Zimbabwe still had gaps in terms of availability of clinical equipment, testing equipment, isolation and quarantine centres and personal protective equipment for frontline workers.

“To this end, there is an urgent need to increase the number of beds in the health facilities nation-wide for isolation of suspects, confirmed and probable cases, increase availability of medical equipment, including ventilators, patient monitors as well as medical supplies and consumables required for the management of cases, increase the availability of laboratory supplies and consumables, increase the availability of personal protective equipment for all health workers involved in the management of cases and the capacity to safely refer patients by ambulance,” OCHA said.

“With 129 ventilators required, there is a gap of 108…132 patient monitors required, there is a gap of 110 and with 176 suction machines required there is a gap of 167.

“With the country’s updated total budget of US$37 million under the national case management plan, there is a funding gap of US$32 million that is urgently required for the government to be able to acquire these items and enhance the country’s case management strategy.”

OCHA further highlighted that there was an urgent need to increase the country’s isolation and quarantine facilities given the growing number of returnees.

This comes as the government has indicated that schools, colleges and universities would no longer be used as Covid-19 quarantine centres for returnees since they will soon be partially reopened.

“To support the growing number of returnees, there is a need to improve isolation tents, for quarantine facilities to develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and provide basic services including food, water and improved wash infrastructure, and medical services to reinforce thermal scans and testing, health care, counselling and psychological support.

“There is also a need to provide post-arrival humanitarian assistance to ensure migrants’ rights and avoid exposure to health and protection risks, for both migrants and their communities of origin,” OCHA said.

Meanwhile, the OCHA further revealed that more than 43 000 people in Cyclone Idai affected areas remain displaced in camps and host communities, leaving them exposed to Covid-19.

“Shelter support is needed for those remaining in the camps and for affected and displaced people accommodated in host communities or in makeshift structures already worn out for the protracted crisis. As the winter season begins, they need adequate blankets, as they are being exposed to cold weather and put further at risk of contracting Covid-19.

“Upgrade of camp infrastructure, shelter rehabilitation and reconstruction remains a high priority. People living in crowded conditions and makeshift structures without appropriate access to basic services such as water and health treatment are more exposed to health risks and this could facilitate the spread of Covid-19,” OCHA said.

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