Government has received K36.75 million from the United States government meant for the country’s COVID -19 vaccination campaign.
Minister of Health, Jonas Chanda who announced the development in a Ministerial statement on COVID-19, said the funds will be used to implement the successful delivery of the vaccines.
“We are grateful for the support of Zambia’s all-weather friend the United States government who have announced a commitment of an additional K36.75 million ($1.75 million) to provide technical assistance to Zambia’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign targeted at providing critical technical and logistical support to the Ministry of Health for planning, coordination and delivery of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for Zambians,” Dr Chanda said.
He said the Interagency Coordinating Committee (ICC) converged on Friday and formulated the National Vaccine Deployment Plan to guide the rollout.
“The Interagency Coordinating Committee (ICC) met on Friday 26th March 2021 to consider key aspects of the COVID-19 vaccination programme. Among the key issues discussed were consideration of the findings of the report from the Zambian Immunization Technical Advisory Group providing guidance on COVID-19 vaccines being considered for deployment.
“The ICC formally adopted the National Vaccine Deployment Plan to guide the roll out, including considerations for the cold chain, in line with Cabinet’s guidance on COVID-19 vaccinations which are critical to controlling the pandemic, slowing the emergence of new variants, and helping to boost the economy. Zambia has also successfully met all the requirements set by GAVI under the COVAX facility,” Dr Chanda said.
And in a quest to stop propaganda and misinformation around the vaccine, the Minister of Health announced that his ministry is working towards finalizing the Communication Strategy.
“The Ministry is working to finalize the Communication Strategy which will guide the nationwide communication activities to ensure citizens have accurate information about vaccines and the vaccination process to make informed decisions, as well as address frequently asked questions and dispel myths, misconceptions and conspiracy theories around the COVID-19 vaccines,” he said.
Dr Chanda also announced that the Ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education are undertaking close scrutiny of institutions of higher learning so as to ensure students adhere to public health guidelines.
The Minister further disclosed that the Ministry of Health and the Electoral Commission of Zambia are working together to ensure the safety of political players and the public in view of the pandemic and the looming August elections.
Meanwhile, Dr Chanda disclosed that two new deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours.
“We recorded 145 new cases out of 4,817 tests conducted (3 % positivity). This brings the cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to date to 87, 872. The new cases broken down by province are as follows; 43 Lusaka, 20 Copperbelt, 17 Central, 14 Luapula, 14 North Western, 12 Eastern, 12 Western, 7 Southern, 3 Muchinga and 3 Northern.
“Two new deaths were recorded from Eastern (1) and Northern (1) provinces. The cumulative number of COVID-19 related deaths recorded now stands at 1,200, classified as 667 COVID deaths and 533 COVID-19 associated deaths,” he said.
He stated further that a total number of 83 discharges were recorded countrywide.
“A combined 83 discharges were recorded from both the COVID 19 isolation facilities and home management, bringing the cumulative number of recoveries to 84,347 (96%). We currently have 2,325 active cases, of whom 2,235 (96%) are under community management and 90 (4%) are admitted to our COVID-19 isolation facilities. Among those admitted, 74 (82%) are on oxygen therapy and 15 (17 %) are in critical condition,” he noted.
The Minister said that only 90 patients are currently admitted to COVID-19 isolation centres countrywide.
“However, from the lessons learnt from previous waves of the pandemic experienced the world over, there has usually been a lapse of a few weeks before a successive wave has reached us. Looking at the current situation in East Africa where a third-wave has already hit, it is clear that we are potentially close to experiencing one in the next few months,” he warned.