Facilitating Zambia’s COVID-19 RecoveryPublished: Nov 26, 2021 Reading time: 3 minutes
People in Need (PIN), in partnership with the Zambian Ministry of Health, Zamtel, and Caritas Czech Republic, and with financial support from the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has rolled out a pilot project to provide financial support to aid recovery and encourage the self-isolation of vulnerable people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
This innovative project targets densely populated urban compounds in Lusaka’s Mandevu, Chawama, Chaisa, Chipata, Bauleni, Mtendere, Kanyama, Matero, and Ngombe areas, which are considered hotspots for COVID-19 and other infectious disease outbreaks.
Speed of mobile cash transfer is crucial
Anyone in the target area who tests positive for COVID-19 and meets the socio-economic vulnerability criteria is eligible to receive 500 Zambian kwacha (28 USD) via mobile cash transfer. Since June of this year, 655 people have received the grant, for a total disbursement of 327,500 Zambian kwacha (18,340 USD). The cash transfers are made possible with the support of Zamtel’s Zampay mobile money platform.
PIN Country Director Piotr Sasin points to the results of a survey undertaken by the project team, which indicated that the main barrier to self-isolation after positive COVID-19 test results is a lack of resources to cover basic needs. Most of the people living in the target area are daily wage earners and cannot afford to stay at home. According to Sasin, the speed of cash assistance is one of the most important elements in effective shock responsive safety nets, and he notes that the average time between the release of test results and the delivery of the cash vouchers has so far been only 20 hours.
Sasin says, “The majority of beneficiaries say the allowance enabled them to meet their basic needs while recovering and self-isolating, without resorting to loan sharks popularly known as ´Kaloba´.”
Lastford Miyanda, PIN’s Disaster Preparedness and Response Project Manager, notes that the project is targeting 1,500 individuals in Lusaka, with an estimated cost of 750,000 Zambian kwacha (42,340 USD). He expects that the project will be scaled up to include other areas of the country after successful completion of the first phase. Miyando confirms that a major hinderance to self-isolation after positive COVID-19 test results is a lack of financial support.
Patients are using cash to buy food for self-isolation
Kapambwe Mulenga, Sub-district Surveillance Officer at the Chawama First Level Hospital, says the cash support has enabled patients to buy supplements such as Vitamin C and Zinc Sulphate. Supplements help boost immunity and aid in quick recovery, she adds. “Most patients have reported using the cash on food and health supplies to help sustain them through the 10-day self-isolation phase,” Mulenga explains.
Natasha Moyo is a beneficiary from the Ngombe Compound who is encouraging people to take COVID-19 precautions seriously. “I got vaccinated as soon as I tested negative, and I encourage all Zambians to get vaccinated so as to reduce cases of COVID-19,” she says.
About People in NeedPIN is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation founded in 1992 in the Czech Republic. It has since grown to become one of the largest non-governmental organisations in Central and Eastern Europe. PIN implements humanitarian and development projects in crisis-stricken and impoverished areas across Europe, Asia, and Africa. In Africa, PIN operates in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Angola, Mali, and Zambia.
PIN opened its office in Zambia in 2017, where it focuses on improving nutrition, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene practices (WASH), and the livelihoods of vulnerable groups, and promotes good governance by engaging civil society organisations in local and national advocacy initiatives.
For more information, please contact:
Piotr Sasin, PIN Country Director in Zambia, Piotr.Sasin@peopleinneed.cz