By Pearl Matibe
Zambia is receiving an additional ZMK 112 million (US$6.7 million) in COVID-19 assistance from the United States Government, through its agency, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) an 8 September 2021 statement by the U.S. Embassy in Zambia confirms.
Sheryl Stumbras, the USAID Mission Director in Zambia said, “Today, we are responding decisively to COVID-19” in Zambia.
The assistance comes at a critical time for Zambia to ensure help reaches the most vulnerable.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), by 14 September, the country had 207, 960 in the period since 3 January 2021. confirmed cases. Of these, 3,633 has succumbed to the disease. By 23 August, just 503,707 Zambians had been vaccinated out of its population.
On population statistics, the World Bank indicates that, “Zambia is experiencing a large demographic shift and is one of the world’s youngest countries by median age. Its population, much of it urban, is estimated at about 17.9 million and growing rapidly at 2.8% per year, partly because of high fertility, resulting in the population doubling close to every 25 years.”
In its statement, the U.S. Embassy in Zambia’s public affairs office confirms that “USAID will continue to work in partnership with the Zambia Ministry of Health (MOH), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health partners to boost access to oxygen supplies and essential medicines; support patient management and the hiring of additional doctors and nurses; and increase support for community awareness and engagement by providing accurate information on COVID-19 and how communities and individuals can protect themselves.”
As evidence of the relationship between the two countries, Dr. Mutinta Nyumbu from USAID’s DISCOVER-Health Project led a COVID-19 prevention sensitization workshop with Indunas (traditional leaders) and with health workers. Both events took place in Zambia’s Western Province.
Prior to his inauguration, President Hakainde Hichilema spoke to USAID’s Administrator Samantha Power who congratulated him on his election.
President Hichilema emphasized that it was important for his new government to demonstrate that it can deliver for the people of Zambia, especially young people.
Administrator Power said that the United States looked forward to partnering with the President-elect’s government as it seeks to meet the Zambian people’s democratic and economic aspirations.
President-elect Hichilema noted his hope that, in a period of democratic backsliding globally, Zambia’s progress can serve as an example for other nations.
What’s more is that the U.S. Embassy emphasized its commitment to the people of Zambia saying, “The United States is working quickly to get safe and effective vaccines to as many people as possible with the understanding that increasing global vaccination coverage is the best way out of this pandemic. Since the global outbreak of the pandemic, the United States, through multiple government agencies and initiatives including CDC, Department of Defense, Department of State, USAID, and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), has provided more than $28 million to fight COVID-19 in Zambia.”