Govt launches new national COVID-19 response strategy

By ZBC Reporter

The government has revamped its national response mechanism to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a new structure aimed at consolidating the gains made so far and strengthening the national response to address remaining challenges.

In a statement, the the Chairperson of the new structure, Vice President General (Retd) Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care, said: “Zimbabwe has however been very strategic in its pandemic response right from the start by adopting a comprehensive and integrated implementation and coordination approach in collaboration with all stakeholders.”

As a result, the country has done very good progress in its preparedness and response to the pandemic. Capacities in disease surveillance, case management as well as in local manufacturing of essential COVID-19 commodities have been built for example, he added.

He said the vaccination programme is admired by most globally and is leading on the African continent.

The national response has however faced a number of challenges. Recently, the momentum of the vaccination programme seems to nave gone down in a number or provinces. The magnitude and duration of the three pandemic waves experienced so far have worsened with each wave. These challenges and program gaps are a clear indication that despite the many achievements recorded so far, we still need to do much, much more if we are to prevent or subdue a potentially bigger and longer 4th wave. Addressing these challenges and gaps calls for enhanced participation and response ownership by provincial and district teams from all sectors and not Just from the health sector,noted the VP.

Dr Chiwenga said as a result, Cabinet decided to come up with a revised response structure aimed at consolidating the gains made so far and at strengthening the national response in order to address remaining challenges so that the gains and achievements made so far are not lost.

The Vice President will lead the new Ministerial Committee on the National COVID-19 Response and will be deputised by the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Hon. Prof. Dr. A Murwira.

The Ministerial Committee will receive technical support from a Working Party of Officials led by The Chief Coordinator for the National response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Dr. A. Mahomva.

Summary Terms Of Reference (TOR) for the New Ministerial committee on the National COVID-19 Pandemic Response:

Background:

COvID-19 is a public Health Emergency with economic, political, social and environmental implications. There is therefore a need to respond to the pandemic through a strengthened whole of government and society approach (both public and private) guided by lessons learnt so far.

Purpose of the New Committee

The overall aim of the new Ministerial Committee is to lead the country’s CoVID-19 initiatives at national, provincial and district level for a strengthened, well- coordinated, efficient and effective National Response that is based on best practices, lessons learnt and is driven by science.

Broad Objectives and Responsibilities

  • Support and coordinate a multi-sectoral response approach that includes and enables local leaders and their communities to take ownership of the response.
  • Capture and share lessons learned, good practices and provide Cabinet with regular National response updates and recommendations.
  • Promote and support use of science based COVID-19 response guidelines that are based on local, regional and or global research such as from the Africa CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Advocate for and support implementation teams in every corner of Zimbabwe to address programme challenges, operational barriers and gaps in a timely fashion.
  • Advocate for and support implementation teams in every corner of Zimbabwe to address programme challenges, operational barriers and gaps in a timely fashion.

Ministerial Committee Members

Members of the original COVID-19 Ad-Hoc Inter Ministerial Task Force.

Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution.

Chair: The Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Hon. Gen. (Retd) Dr. C. G. D. N Chiwenga.

Deputy: Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Hon. Prof. Dr. A. Murwira.

Technical Lead: The Chief Coordinator for the National response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Dr A Mahomva.

Working Party of officials: Technical Support Team

Chair: Chief Coordinator, Dr A Mahomva.

Deputy Chair: Permanent secretary, Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Prof Tagwira.

Members: Original Task Force Working Party officials including National Command Centre Technical Lead, Provincial Medical Directors, and Provincial Development Coordinators.

Ministerial Committee Meetings

Every Monday morning to discuss technical updates from the Working Party of Officials and to prepare an update report and recommendations to Cabinet.

Working Party of officials Meetings

Every Friday morning to prepare updates for the Ministerial Committee.

These meeting schedules will run for a month and then the frequency of the meetings will be reviewed.

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