The WHO Country Office in Zambia has continued working jointly with other United Nations Agencies and other partners to strengthen on-going interventions to respond and prevent further spread of the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) in the country. These efforts include coordination, surveillance, infection prevention and control, laboratory, case management, risk communication, logistics and human resource capacity. On 3 July 2020 the WHO Representative, Dr. Nathan Bakyaita handed over a donation of 200 foot-operated hand washing equipment for use in health care facilities, integrated video and tele (audio) conferencing equipment to be used at the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) at the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) and 4 motor bikes for disease surveillance in Lavushimanda, a rural district in Muchinga province which has challenges with road infrastructure due to difficult terrain.
When handing over the donation, Dr. Bakyaita stated that WHO recognised frequent and proper hand hygiene as one of the most important measures that could be used to prevent infection with the Coronavirus. “ It is important therefore to ensure universal access to hand washing facilities in homes, communities, health care facilities, schools, markets, and other public spaces”. He emphasised. Dr. Bakyaita thanked the United Kingdom Department for International Development and the United States Agency for International Development whose generous contributions made it possible to procure the equipment and transportation facilities to support the COVID-19 response.
When receiving the donation, the Permanent Secretary for technical services at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Kennedy Malama stated that government was facing challenges in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak and thanked WHO for its continued support to the government through its strategic partnership. He said that the donation by WHO was critical in strengthening the health system in general. “Apart from responding to COVID-19, we need to continue providing other essential health services to the population.” He said. Dr. Malama stated that the provision of hand washing facilities was a high impact intervention and was not only key in preventing infection but also a motivation to health workers and clients. He also thanked WHO for supporting the Emergency Operations Centre and said that the provision of transportation facilities to the newly created district in Lavushimanda would enhance outreach and supervision activities.
As of 7 July 2020, Zambia recorded 1895 cases of COVID-19 and 42 deaths.