THE United States yesterday pledged US$470 000 to combat COVID-19 in Zimbabwe and to complement World Health Organisation (WHO) efforts to prepare large-scale testing for coronavirus in the country.
United States Agency for International Development (USAid) mission director Stephanie Funk in a statement yesterday said the funds would be pivotal in the implementation of an emergency plan for points of entry, as well as in activating case finding and evidence-based surveillance for influenza-like illnesses.
They urged government to put in place co-ordinated efforts, together with the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and WHO to identify priority areas for investment.
“The US has pledged US$470 000 to fight the spread of COVID-19,” the statement from Funk read.
“This assistance will build on the ongoing investments by the US in Zimbabwe’s health sector.”
Funk said since 1980, the US government has provided over US$1 billion in health assistance to strengthen health systems, so that Zimbabweans can live longer, healthier lives.
She said between the USAid and the US Department of State, American taxpayers generously made available more than US$90 billion for health globally since 2009, and called upon other donors to contribute towards the fight against the coronavirus which has taken the lives of around 21 000 people worldwide, including that of broadcaster Zororo Makamba last Tuesday.
“For more than 30 years, the American people, through USAid have contributed over US$3,2 billion in assistance to Zimbabwe. Current projects include initiatives to increase food security, support economic resilience, improve health outcomes, and promote democratic governance,” she said.
As Zimbabwe receives donations from well-wishers like the US, non-governmental organisation, the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development, has urged government to practise transparency and accountability.
Zimcodd said precautionary measures against “tenderpreneuship” must be taken in order to safeguard against individuals that might want to take advantage of funds meant to fight the pandemic.-AMH