By Leroy Dzenga
Harare – Southern African countries have started collaborating in COVID-19 vaccine procurement and logistics.
Unlike in the early days where countries were operating in silos, countries are increasingly working together.
On Tuesday it emerged that Zimbabwe assisted Namibia with transport for the fellow SADC member’s 100,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine that it got from China.
Air Zimbabwe this week went to China to collect the country’s second batch of doses; and while there it also took delivery of doses destined for Namibia.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa said it was all a matter of regional brotherhood.
“… the donation by China to Namibia, we have gladly (airlifted) it and we will convey it to Namibia free of charge,” President Mnangagwa said.
He made the remarks as he received 344,000 vaccine doses from China for Zimbabwe.
Of the 344,000 doses, 200,000 are donations from China and 144,000 are direct purchases by the Government of Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe`s assistance to Namibia comes a few weeks after SADC Chair President Felipe Nyusi of Mozambique made a clarion call to Heads of State and Government in the region to work together in the fight against COVID-19.
“Since, the beginning of the pandemic, the Southern Africa Development Community under the leadership of Heads of States and Governments has taken assertive measures and supported Member States initiatives and collective and coordinated efforts in the fight against COVID-19, with some degree of success.
“At this delicate time, it is urgent that we continue to build on these important strategic alliances and take additional measures that will assist us in addressing the growing challenges posed by the second wave of the pandemic in our region, and other waves that may emerge,” President Nyusi said.
The 2004 SADC Protocol on Health says: “Co-operation is essential for the control of communicable and non-communicable diseases and for addressing common health concerns, including emergency health services, disaster management, and bulk purchasing of essential drugs.”