TWO days after President Robert Mugabe threatened pull out of the United Nations the World Health Organisation (WHO) Monday donated 33 vehicles, computers and materials worth nearly $2 million towards the Ministry of Health and Child’s immunisation programme.
The equipment was procured by Global Alliance for Vaccines (GAVI) Health Systems Strengthening (HSS) funds through WHO- an arm of the United Nations.
The donation comes days after President Robert Mugabe told his party supporters that Zimbabwe and other African Union member countries may break away from the UN and form a splinter body.
The support includes 24 Toyota Land Cruisers, nine refrigerated trucks for transportation of vaccines and 73 computer equipment that will be deployed to 24 selected districts around the country.
The vehicles will be distributed to each district based on assessment of problems seen in each area.
Speaking at the handover ceremony WHO country representative, David Okello, said in their assessment, the immunisation programme seems to be doing very well with the support from different partners. He said this was evidenced by the fact that Zimbabwe has not had any measles cases in the last 20 years.
“Don’t take it for granted, if you don’t vaccinate you will get sick, there are some people who are hiding behind tall walls in Harare and beginning to take immunisation as something which is not important,” said Dr Okello.
“The vaccines are here and they are for free and you pay anything,” he added.
Dr Okello warned the Health Ministry officials not to remove the labels and logo on the vehicles as doing so would maximise chances of misuse.
He said: “If the logos of WHO, GAVI and Ministry of Health remain, officials will fear to drive these vehicles for private business.”
Dr Okello also appealed to the cash strapped government to insure the vehicles before they are involved in accidents and before they are put to use.
Despite Mugabe’s UN pull out threat the health sector has been heavily reliant on donor funds coming through the world body’s agencies.