Switzerland donates towards Zim COVID-19 fight

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SWITZERLAND has pledged US$2,3 million to support Zimbabwe and four other countries in Southern Africa in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Harriet Chikandiwa/Lorraine Muromo

The money will be channelled through the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation (SDC), and adds to more than US$34 million in health and food security assistance, and nearly $125 million in total assistance that Switzerland has provided to Zimbabwe and the region over the last five years.

About US$800 000 will go to SolidarMed, an international non-profit health organisation for its regional COVID-19 response.

“The funding will support underserved districts across five countries in Southern Africa to prepare for and cope with COVID-19, including through the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline workers, among other measures,” part of the statement from the Swiss Embassay released yesterday read.

“The additional US$1,5 million will go to the World Food Programme (WFP) Zimbabwe country office.

“The funds to WFP will help the government of Zimbabwe to continue providing vital food assistance to the most vulnerable, while ensuring that all required health and safety measures are in place in order to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 during food distribution.

“This includes protecting the safety of staff and beneficiaries with the required PPE, conducting health screenings at food distribution sites and increasing the distribution points so that guidelines on gathering and social distancing are respected.

Switzerland’s ambassador to Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi, Niculin Jäger said that the assistance would strengthen Zimbabwe’s response to COVID-19, particularly in the health and food security sectors, which are currently facing a number of challenges.

“COVID-19 is a global public health threat that can be addressed best by close collaboration among governments and international organisations. Switzerland is working closely with the government of Zimbabwe to support Zimbabwe’s response to this global pandemic,” said ambassador Jäger.