We’ve Covid-19 genomic sequencing capacity: VP

Source: We’ve Covid-19 genomic sequencing capacity: VP | Herald (Top Stories)

VP Chiwenga

Mukudzei Chingwere

Herald Reporter

Zimbabwe now has the capacity to do Covid-19 genomic sequencing, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Constantino Chiwenga said during his virtual address to the ongoing 74th World Health Assembly (WHA74).

The country has so far defied the odds with a thorough and effective response to the pandemic receiving international rave reviews with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and China commending Government’s efforts.

WHA74 is the biggest decision-making body for WHO which is attended by delegations from the health organ’s 194-member states.

It started on Monday and is ending on June 1, running under the theme; “Ending this pandemic, preventing the next: building together a healthier, safer and fairer world.”

On top of the country’s commendable response to the pandemic, VP Chiwenga said Zimbabwe has now decentralised genomic sequencing.

“The country now has the capacity to do Covid-19 genomic sequencing at our National Microbiology Reference Laboratory. We have decentralised operations to all our provinces.

“Our response has been a combination of health promotion and prevention measures based on raising awareness and community mobilisation.

“The whole of Government and whole of society approach helped the country to reduce transmission and Covid-19 associated morbidities and mortalities,” said VP Chiwenga.

However, Zimbabwe’s Covid-19 response did not compromise the Government’s quest to improve the country’s health services in general.

Zimbabwe is not negating its vision of transforming the health services and has maintained good coverage of above 86 percent childhood coverage in 2020 and is currently carrying out integrated and targeted catch up campaigns for under-performing districts.

The HIV Programme has achieved the 90-90-90 targets, the delivery of TB, Malaria and other essential health services during the Covid-19 response have also been maintained.

“Recognising further that the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the supply chain for essential medicines and other health technologies, the Government was partnering with its local universities and private sector on innovations and strengthening of local production of PPEs, medicines and medical equipment,” said VP Chiwenga.

Government has put in place frameworks that are guiding these engagements as well as encouraging donors and development partners’ flexibility to strengthen local production capacities for sustainability.

Zimbabwe has also incorporated gender based violence and children violence into the Nurses Training School curriculum, so that our staff are able to manage these cases as they present at their workplaces.

“Zimbabwe appreciates the World Health Organisation and the key leadership role it plays in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic. We are strongly committed as a nation to ensuring equitable access to vaccines to all residents of Zimbabwe. Let us not lose hope and in the end we shall win,” said VP Chiwenga.

Earlier in the day South African President Cyril Ramaphosa represented his country at the assembly which is being done virtually in conformity with the Covid-19 mitigatory measures.

He said this pandemic has made us more aware of our strengths and vulnerabilities.

“It has also demonstrated how interconnected we are and how dependent we are on each other for our health and well-being.

“This requires that we attend with urgency and purpose to the huge divide in the provision of the Covid-19 vaccines to the peoples of the world,” he said.

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