The European Union support will contribute to the COVID-19 emergency needs as well as ensuring the continuity of routine health service delivery. Already a substantial part of the essential medicines and protective personal equipment has been delivered to the central Medical Store (MSL) and shall be distributed within the coming days to beneficiaries, notably health facilities and regional hubs in both urban and rural areas of Zambia. All purchased items shall reach the central MSL within a 6-month period. Half of the supplies have been procured from local pharmaceutical companies. This allows for immediate support to the COVID-19 emergency needs and helps in maintaining essential health service delivery while investing in the local market will support to boost the Zambian economy that has been in heavy COVID-19 distress.
H.E. Ambassador Jankowski stated in his speech that ‘we recognize how important it is to assure the good health and well-being of the Zambian population. Only then can the economy develop and grow. A healthy population though means there is access to and availability of good quality essential health and social services that destabilize and weaken, especially in health emergencies'. He also stressed ‘the importance of having a coordinated and effective crisis management approach in place that requires communication and information sharing, transparency, complementarity as well as robust supervision and monitoring’.
Whilst the Minister of Health stressed that 'the health sector continues to invest in health systems strengthening using an integrated community and primary health care approach anchored on the continuum of care spanning promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services in a close to client settings. One of the key pillars in this investment is a sustainable pharmaceutical supply chain that assures commodity security as an imperative in the provision of essential health services for all Zambians'.
The EU donation is part of the Team Europe response in support of the Zambia National Multi-sectoral Contingency and Response Plan, for which the European Union and its Member States collectively contribute 30- 40 million EUR (650-867 million Kwacha). Also, this support builds on the European Union’s long-standing partnership with Zambia, demonstrated by significant investments in health system strengthening and reproductive maternal, and child health. This long-term development assistance helped build capacities that are now relieving the COVID-19 response and in general shall facilitate more effective management of epidemics in Zambia.