A procurement of 198 Oxygen Concentrators by the Health Development Fund (HDF) has increased the country’s COVID-19 High Dependency Unit (HDU) bed capacity from 45 beds to 179, representing 80% completion of HDU required for Zimbabwe.
The development comes at a time the country’s total number of COVID-19 cases has risen to 985 with 639 active cases, automatically presenting a substantial number of patients requiring hospitalisation.
In a statement released by HDF, the organisation highlighted that the oxygen concentrators will also go a long way curbing neonatal mortality rate in Zimbabwe post COVID-19.
“The oxygen concentrators will also strengthen health service delivery capacity post COVID-19 as they are an essential piece of equipment in newborn resuscitation, thus contributing to the reduction of neonatal mortality in Zimbabwe,” says the statement.
HDF also procured 968 solar-driven refrigerators to strengthen coverage and equity of immunisation across the country.
“Vaccines need to be stored at a constant, cool temperature to be effective. These new advanced refrigerators will be used to store vaccines that protect Zimbabwe’s children against killer diseases like measles, diphtheria and pneumonia, helping to ensure a healthy, prosperous future for both the children and for this great nation,” said Gavi’s Senior Country Manager for Zimbabwe Tito Rwamushaija.
UNICEF Deputy Representative Amina Mohamed also echoed the sentiment saying solar-driven refrigerators we afford immunisation programmes to reach remote areas.
“Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s restrictions in movement for mothers and their babies, immunization coverage in Zimbabwe has not been equitable across the country with inequities across geographic areas, urban vs rural, and wealth quintiles. These Solar Driven Refrigerators will see the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) reaching the last mile,” said Mohamed
The initiative will also train 63 cold chain technicians from 9 Provinces on the role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in cold chain management, temperature monitoring devices, maintenance of the refrigerators, generator maintenance, gas management and cold chain record keeping.
The Health Development Fund is a multi-donor pooled funding mechanism established to improve reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCH+A) and nutrition in Zimbabwe. It is managed by UNICEF in coordination with UNFPA.