BY VANESSA GONYE
THE Japanese government has pledged a US$3,8 million grant to the Zimbabwe government to equip the country’s hospitals as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic interventions.
Speaking during an exchange of notes ceremony with Finance minister Mthuli Ncube in Harare on Monday, Japanese ambassador to Zimbabwe Toshiyuki Iwado said his country hoped that the two grants for essential COVID-19 equipment would increase Zimbabwe’s capacity to treat patients affected by the pandemic, as well as other conditions.
The Japanese donation also comes at a time the Asian nation also reaffirmed its commitment to support Zimbabwe’s health care system.
“Through the new equipment, as well as the improved hospital management by means of the 5S-Kaizen-TQM project, I sincerely hope that the standard of health service delivery at the hospitals will be much higher for as many patients as possible and for many years to come,” Iwado said.
“In this regard, it is essential for the equipment to be used and maintained with the utmost care, and I strongly urge the government of Zimbabwe to ensure that this is done through sound and effective management and functioning of healthcare and medical systems in the country,” he said.
The Japanese envoy said an improved healthcare system would boost Zimbabwe’s national COVID-19 response plan. During the Seventh Tokyo Conference on African Development (TICAD7) in August, Japan pledged to promote universal health coverage in Africa.
“Japan believes that for Zimbabwe to achieve further development in a sustainable manner, the strengthening of the health sector and the achievement of universal health coverage is vitally important. For this reason, Japan remains committed to supporting the government of Zimbabwe in improving the country’s healthcare system,” he said.
Ncube said the COVID-19 pandemic had exerted unprecedented pressure on economic activities, and impacted negatively on the livelihoods of vulnerable groups such as women, the youth, the informal sector and people in rural and urban areas.
“The support from the government of Japan will assist in assuring a healthy nation that can withstand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Support amounting to $4,5 billion has been availed towards capacity building of health staff (training); procurement of health and laboratory equipment including the consumables; procurement of personnel protective equipment (PPE); rehabilitation and construction of isolation units; drilling of boreholes by the District Development Fund; and production of PPE, especially face masks and sanitisers by local universities,” Ncube said.