The Swedish International Development Agency in partnership with the Government of Zambia through the Ministry of Health and UNICEF have announced a new agreement in Zambia worth US$5.2 million (94.6 million ZMW) to boost essential health services to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the sector, including through the provision of essential medicines.
In close collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the partnership will support existing health services in Zambia by providing essential commodities for reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH), by procuring oxygen concentrators for hospitals in four provinces (Southern, Eastern, Luapula, Muchinga) and by rehabilitating the oxygen plants at three hospitals including at the University Teaching Hospital (Children’s Hospital) in Lusaka.
“This support comes at a crucial time for Zambia in the COVID-19 response and will go a long way to supporting essential health services,” said Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Kennedy Malama.
“We thank the Government of Sweden for their generous support to the people of Zambia, especially our children.”
In addition, 5,000 health workers in 983 primary health care facilities and 48 hospitals will receive Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to help essential health services continue even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Swedish Ambassador to Zambia, Ms Anna Maj Hultgård, states that “Sweden is happy to be able to make this important contribution to Zambia. We place great importance to supporting the health system in Zambia and essential health workers not only to empower them to safely respond to the Covid-19 Pandemic but also to ensure that essential services such as maternal, new-born, child and adolescent health and nutrition can continue with minimal disruption”
An estimated one million people in Zambia are expected to benefit from essential health services and commodities supplied under the programme, in addition to 380,000 pregnant women who will receive lifesaving services during pregnancy and delivery and 375,000 infants will receive life-saving immunisation services to prevent diseases like measles, rubella, tuberculosis, tetanus and polio.
“Sweden has consistently been one of the strongest supporters of the rights and well-being of children in Zambia and this new partnership could not be more timely,” said Ms Noala Skinner, UNICEF Representative in Zambia.
“This major programme will not only support the COVID-19 response by protecting health workers and boosting oxygen supplies, but also ensure the continuation of vital and essential health services.”
The rehabilitation of the oxygen plants at UTH in Lusaka and two other hospitals will allow them to support the life-saving treatment of patients with respiratory diseases, including those with COVID-19.