Southern Africa: Zimbabwe Donates 20 000 Covid-19 Jabs to Namibia

31 AUGUST 2021

The Herald (Harare)

By Mukudzei Chingwere

Herald Reporter

Zimbabwe yesterday handed over a consignment of 20 000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine donated to Namibia by the Government.

The donation follows satisfactory progress in the country's vaccination campaign which is now targeting everyone above the age of 14 after scientific advice proved it was safe to vaccinate the 14-17 age group.

President Mnangagwa's administration has so far spent US$102 million on vaccines and associated costs for syringes and transport. The gift to Namibia is a small fraction of Zimbabwe's procurement programme, rated at First World levels and one of the best in Africa.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Dr David Musabayana and Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Dr John Mangwiro handed over the vaccines in Namibia.

Explaining the gift on his Twitter account, President Mnangagwa said: "Only when all citizens of our region are protected, will Zimbabwe be able to return to normality. I'm delighted to announce that Zimbabwe has donated 20 000 Covid-19 vaccines to Namibia. Let's protect all Africans!"

Zimbabwe's vaccination campaign is winning several international plaudits and some foreign Government officials are opting to get their shots here like Ambassador of the State of Palestine to Zimbabwe, Tamer Almassri.

To this end, Northern Ireland has removed travellers from Zimbabwe from the list of mandatory quarantines, a sign of an endorsement of the country's response measures in both vaccination and in the successful efforts to beat back the third wave.

Zimbabwe with 23 others are no longer enlisted for mandatory hotel quarantine if entering the country. Zimbabwe joins heavyweights like the United States, Russia, Belgium, France, Canada, South Africa, India, Tunisia among others.

Zimbabwe was removed on Friday, and Dr Mangwiro said the foreign endorsement is a sign that the country's response under the leadership of President Mnangagwa is working.

Yesterday Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Ambassador Frederick Shava addressed the second virtual briefing by members of the national Covid-19 task-force to members of the diplomatic corps and international cooperating partners.

He provided an update in the country's response that has managed to minimise deaths and infections and noted that a medical oxygen plant was commissioned by President Mnangagwa recently.

"This plant will ensure that we have adequate oxygen supplies, especially during this period, when we are witnessing increased demand due to the delta variant," said Ambassador Shava.

"The bumper harvest that we have just realised during the 2020-2021 agricultural season has lessened our burden following a significant reduction in food insecure households.

"The Government remains committed to work with our partners to ensure that all vulnerable groups such as the elderly, those living with disabilities and the poor receive the requisite social protection.

"Let me start by reiterating the Government's appreciation to our cooperating partners for resolutely standing with us and supporting our fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and other humanitarian challenges," said Ambassador Shava.

An the same meeting, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said the targets benchmarked to be achieved are on course as well as the implementation of the National Development Strategy 1.

He also noted that the Government was coping with the emergency spending without breaking the budget or delaying the recovery.

"The recovery trajectory seems to be on course despite the environment posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. In public finances, the budget is budgeting; there are no issues at all. We have been able to finance most of the Government's programmes with the resources that we have raised so far."

Minister Ncube also gave details of the financing of Zimbabwe's vaccine procurement programme fuelling the vaccine dispensing rates now running at around 2 million doses a month and the rate expected to rise further

"So far we have spent US$102 million, and the Treasury has been responsible for the procurement of vaccines directly. Of this sum US$94,5 million is a direct procurement for the vaccines that we have received and the balance went towards the African Union facility.

"We paid US$7,5 million towards that which will allow us to receive additional vaccines," said Minister Ncube.

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