EUROPEAN Union Ambassador to Zambia and COMESA Jacek Jankowski has stressed the importance of having a coordinated and effective crisis management approach in place, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He says the European Union and its member states stand ready to continue supporting the Zambian government in building a sustainable healthcare system that can efficiently respond to any future health crisis.
He spoke when he handed over medical supplies and commodities to combat COVID-19, to the Ministry of Health, at the Medical Stores Limited (MSL), yesterday.
The donation comprised essential medicines and life-saving commodities worth 2.7 million Euros (K58 million), to support the Ministry of Health in fighting the COVID-19 outbreak.
Ambassador Jankowski said since the beginning of the COVID-19-crisis, the European Union (EU) and its member states had been standing in solidarity with the government of Zambia, “in these unprecedented times.”
“As part of the ‘Team Europe’ global initiative, we have pledged collectively an amount between 30-40 million EUR (650 – 867 million kwacha) to assist Zambia along the entire emergency crisis management, including mitigating its economic and social impact – all this with the notion of protecting the rights and needs of the vulnerable people,” he said. “I would like to take this opportunity to stress 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.”
Ambassador Jankowski appreciated all efforts undertaken, thus far, by Zambia’s Ministry of Health in developing and implementing such coordination mechanisms.
He further reiterated that such support by the EU was built on its long-standing partnership with Zambia, especially in the health sector.
Ambassador Jankowski said the EU commitment had been demonstrated by massive financial investments for health systems strengthening and maternal and child health, which could now be built on for the management of the crisis.
“Please be assured that the European Union and its member states stand ready to continue supporting the Zambian government in building a sustainable healthcare system that can efficiently respond to any future health crisis,” Ambassador Jankowski said.
He said observing the current development of the outbreak in Zambia and in its neighbouring countries and having learnt first lessons from its expansion globally, “we recognise 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 tend to destabilise and weaken, especially in health emergencies,” Ambassador Jankowski said. “This donation of essential medicines and commodities will have a threefold impact. Firstly, the provision of protective personal equipment and life-saving commodities as prioritised in the national contingency plan shall contribute to the government’s emergency response to the crisis.”
He said a substantial part of the donated supplies constituted essential medicines that shall contribute to assuring the continuity of the routine health service delivery.
“We all know how the management of the health crisis can be overwhelming for the health system in general and how it negatively affects health access and service delivery in particular for the vulnerable population,” Ambassador Jankowski said. “Thus, it is important that these services continue to be provided. Half of the supplies were procured from local pharmaceutical companies. We believe investing in the local market shall have boosted slightly the Zambian economy which has been suffering from COVID-19 distress.”
Meanwhile, Ambassador Jankowski affirmed that the procured medicines and commodities had been dispatched to the MSL.
“From here, they will be distributed to health facilities across the country, according to their urgent needs and gaps,” said Ambassador Jankowski.