Mozambique has received a $1.6 million grant from the African Development Bank to purchase emergency health materials in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
The grant, which forms part of a $9.7 million grant to support the Covid-19 emergency response and strengthen health systems in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and in São Tomé and Príncipe, was approved by the African Development Bank Group’s Board of Directors last year.
The $1.6 million allocation was used to provide medical supplies to increase testing and screening and acquire equipment, including: adult and pediatric intensive care unit ventilators, and BiPAP devices that work like a mechanical respirator in the treatment of lung diseases. The funding was also used to purchase oxygen masks, personal protective equipment and Covid-19 test kits. Some of the supplies were presented to the government on Wednesday.
The project was implemented by the SADC Secretariat in partnership with the World Health Organization and the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Mozambican Minister of Health, Dr. Armindo Tiago, held a formal handover ceremony at the Ministry of Health Office, attended by African Development Bank Country Manager Pietro Toigo and WHO Representative, Dr. Joaquim Saweka.
Mozambique has shown a decrease in Covid-19 infections, but health authorities are on alert due to the threat of new variants and the risk of a third wave.
“Even though vaccination started on 8 March in Mozambique, there is still some way to go. This support comes at the right time, when Mozambique urgently needs to strengthen the health system’s capacity in order to cope with the emerging Covid-19 variant in neighbouring countries,” Minister Tiago said.
The partnership with WHO will complement the efforts of the African Development Bank and the government to support the private sector and the national budget, the Bank’s Toigo said. “The Bank is deeply committed to supporting Mozambique to put the pandemic behind it, and to protect lives and, crucially, support the economic recovery to put the country back on the development trajectory it deserves,” he said.
Dr. Joaquim Saweka, the WHO Representative in Mozambique, said the donation was part of a long-standing partnership with the African Development Bank. He said it was “an expression of WHO’s commitment to ensure that the government strengthens its capacity” in order to serve those affected by the pandemic and beyond.
Other Bank support to Mozambique to reduce the impact of Covid-19 includes $42 million in emergency budget support to strengthen health systems, expand social security and assist the private sector. The Bank also mobilized $4.5 million from existing projects to support initiatives to protect workers and accelerate border-tracking activities in the transport sector. The funds also subsidized credit to reduce the impact on small agricultural businesses and to support young Mozambican artisans to produce masks.