The upgraded national Covid-19 taskforce met yesterday, just a day after Cabinet approved the new structure, with Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Constantino Chiwenga in the chair and setting the pace for a fuller response.
He said the national response has seen a number of challenges, including the significant slowing of people coming forward for vaccination, although with the magnitude and duration of each of the three pandemic waves experienced so far worsening each wave, more had to be done to prevent a new wave.
“These challenges and programme 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 fourth wave,” said VP Chiwenga.
“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.
“Cabinet, therefore, 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.”
VP Chiwenga said the aim of the new ministerial committee was to lead the country’s initiatives at national, provincial and district level for a strengthened, well-coordinated, efficient and effective national response based on best practices, lessons learnt and was driven by science.
The working party of officials will meet every Friday morning to prepare updates for the ministerial committee sitting on Mondays, with the provincial Ministers of State now included on that committee to ensure detailed responses from all areas.
“These meeting schedules will run for a month and then the frequency of the meetings will be reviewed,” said VP Chiwenga.
The ministerial committee meetings will be held, “every Monday morning to discuss technical updates from the working party of officials and to prepare an update report and recommendations to Cabinet,” he said.
VP Chiwenga said Zimbabwe had been very strategic in its pandemic response right from the start by adopting a comprehensive and integrated implementation and coordinated approach in collaboration with all stakeholders.
“As a result, the country has made very good progress in its preparedness and response to the pandemic,” he said.
“Capacities in disease surveillance, case management as well as in local manufacturing of essential Covid-19 commodities have been built, for example.
“The vaccination programme is admired by most globally and is leading on the African continent.” Herald