The African Development Bank's (AfDB's) African Development Fund has approved nearly $8.9-million in grant funding to bolster Covid-19-related control measures in six Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries.
Separately, it has also approved $683 000 in grants to São Tomé & Príncipe, to support the nation’s response to the pandemic and its impacts.
The grant funding forms part of the bank’s Covid-19 Response Facility.
The funds will facilitate the procurement of laboratory and medical supplies, including testing kits, personal protective gear and non-invasive ventilators in Lesotho, Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The SADC Secretariat is the recipient and the implementing agency of the grant.
The financing will reinforce the SADC’s capacity to coordinate pandemic response measures, including surveillance and sensitisation in the six beneficiary countries.
“The SADC countries and São Tomé & Príncipe have inadequate resources and capacity to effectively manage the Covid-19 pandemic, which has put a strain on already fragile health systems in these countries. As a result, these countries are struggling to respond effectively to the fast-evolving situation posed by the Covid-19 pandemic,” the AfDB notes.
Although the spread of Covid-19 has been slow in Africa, it continues to steadily spread through the continent, leaving in its wake disruptions and hardship caused by economic lockdowns, the AfDB says.
The pandemic is projected to have a substantial economic impact on the SADC member countries. For instance, real gross domestic product in all the SADC countries, except Zimbabwe, is forecast to contract this year.