Reducing COVID-19 blow on Cyclone Idai affected communities

AS UN agencies under the Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project (ZIRP) work to restore livelihoods in Cyclone affected areas, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic presented a double-edged sword problem for the communities. They had to survive the devastation left by Idai and now a deadly virus that also threatened their existence.

Working in collaboration, UNICEF, UNOPS and WHO moved to minimise the blow of COVID -19 in communities through various interventions from infrastructure (UNOPS), capacity building (UNICEF) and material supply (WHO). 

UNOPS and WHO, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Child Care accessed rural health facilities for COVID-19 preparedness and infrastructure gaps. 4 isolation wards in Mutambara Mission, Rusitu Mission, Mutsvangwa, Muchadziya clinics were identified for rehabilitation to bolster local health services and increase preparedness.

To strengthen community health structures, UNICEF conducted 26 orientation and capacity strengthening sessions for Health Centre Committees (HCCs) and Community Based Organisations(CBOs) reaching 542 targeted members in Chimanimani. WHO also facilitated Rapid Response Team (RRT) training with over 200 in COVID-19 case management and integrated disease surveillance. Claudius Vhumba is one of the health workers who participated in this program. “ At first we were in fear but now we know we can do anything. The training helped us a lot. When we were dealing with malaria, we knew it was not an infectious disease and when the COVID-19 outbreak started, it was a different approach altogether,” he said

Through the scale up activities implemented to provide COVID-19 support, ZIRP has provided  34 health centres with personal protective equipment and infection prevention materials including surgical gloves, face masks, hand sanitizer and liquid soap to help them manage the pandemic. Motorcycles and mobile devices have also been procured to support disease surveillance by the hospitals and health workers.