Mukudzei Chingwere Herald Reporter
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have rated Zimbabwe among the best countries in the world when it comes to buying and acquiring supplies of Covid-19 vaccines.
In their comprehensive joint database to track the number of Covid-19 vaccines secured through different channels, IMF and WHO gave Zimbabwe a rating of around 98 percent for its efforts that have seen payments already made for around 85 percent of the vaccines needed for the national progamme.
Zimbabwe is among the three best countries in Africa, the other two being Morocco and Egypt, and joins the likes of the United States, Canada, Japan, Canada, Brazil and a swathe of European countries.
President Mnangagwa’s administration set aside US$100 million for the purchase of vaccines and US$93 million has so far been used to boost Government’s target to inoculate at least 10 million people, enough to achieve a 60 percent herd immunity.
Zimbabwe acquired just over 12 million vaccines through direct purchase, and has also joined the African Union (AU) vaccine facility after paying US$7,5 million.
The balance will be paid under a loan facility, which will see the country getting about five million shots, and will also get more than one million doses from the Covax facility.
From purchase as well as donations from other countries like China, Zimbabwe has received and secured cumulatively enough jabs to vaccinate at least nine million people, 90 percent of the minimum 10 million required for reaching herd immunity.
In a note left on their site, the IMF said, following the first meeting of the Multilateral Leaders Taskforce for scaling Covid-19 tools between WHO, the World Bank Group, IMF and World Trade Organisation the IMF-WHO Covid-19 vaccine supply tracker was now available.
“It is a comprehensive database jointly established by the IMF and WHO to track the number of vaccine doses secured by countries and areas through different channels, including bilateral agreements with manufacturers, donations from other countries, multilateral agreements through the Covax Facility, World Bank Group, Asian Development Bank or other institutions/sources.
“This database draws information from the public domain, Covax Global Vaccine Market Assessment, the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund, Duke Global Health Innovation Centre, Airfinity, Our World in Data, the World Bank Group, Asian Development Bank, and African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team.”
The country’s response to the global pandemic received the much needed societal support after President Mnangagwa’s declaration of the pandemic as a state of disaster from the outset, followed by the decisions to treat the financing of the response as an exceptionally high priority.
That in turn led to more Government resources for the health sector as well as marshalling the private sector to come on board and help the Government to boost health care delivery.
Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro said the response was destined for success, crediting the foresight of President Mnangagwa who availed funds for the procurement of vaccines well ahead of time.
“Our response got a very good start because of the leadership of our President. From the onset he set aside US$100 million for the purchase of vaccines which ensured a smooth and constant supply of the vaccines.
“We also received donations from our friends like China who donated the vaccines to kick-start the process and opened up systems that we could also buy vaccines from China which enabled us to constantly get vaccines.
“Our friends from India and Alrosa Zimbabwe also helped us with these donations, as well as the support we got from different stakeholders,” said Dr Mangwiro.
“We have also ensured that these vaccines are kept in accordance with manufacturer specifications, that is at the required and recommended temperatures.
“We have been on a mass vaccination campaign telling people about the benefits of the vaccines. Health education has helped to quell the safety pessimism that has been raised by some quarters.
“Our target is to achieve a herd immunity of at least 60 percent of our population and the vaccination exercises are still going on,” said Dr Mangwiro.
He reminded people not to be carried away as the threat of the global pandemic is still hovering perilously, encouraging the continued adherence to prescribed containment measures as well as being vaccinated.