RC Remarks during Handover Ceremony of Equipment by IAEA to GRZ

Handover of COVID-19 kits by IAEA to the Government of the Republic of Zambia, Remarks by Dr. Nathan Bakyaita

The Permanent Secretary for Technical Services in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Kennedy Malama

  • Senior Government Officials
  • UN colleagues
  • Cooperating Partners
  • Members of the Press
  • Ladies and Gentlemen

I am delighted to represent the UN Zambia family at this event to mark the handover of COVID-19 testing and rapid detection kits provided by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the Government of the Republic of Zambia.

IAEA is part of the UN family in Zambia, operating as a non-resident agency in the country as part of the Delivering as One mechanism.

This presentation of COVID-19 kits follows a request from the Zambian Government to the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, for technical assistance in terms of testing and rapid detection of the virus with the view to help prevent the further spread of virus in the country.

IAEA has mobilised this equipment in collaboration with cooperating partners. Let me note that Zambia is one of the 41 other African countries that have reached out to IAEA for support in fighting COVID-19. Most countries have already received the equipment while others are in the process of doing so. IAEA is ready to provide support to other countries should they need assistance in this regard.

The United Nations remains committed to supporting Zambia in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic which, as we have seen in recent days, is spreading with a corresponding increase in the number of deaths. We, therefore, hope that the testing and detection kits being presented today will help in strengthening Zambia’s capacity in the testing and rapid detection of the virus.

Ladies and gentlemen

I am happy to note that since the COVID-19 outbreak in Zambia, the United Nations has supported government sectorial ministries to be at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. Our support includes the development of a multisectoral Contingency and Response Plan and the launch of the UN Zambia COVID-19 Emergency Appeal.

Zambia is expected to suffer disproportionately from the socio-economic impact of the pandemic, as the case is for many other countries.

The proposed United Nations programme of action for responding to COVID-19 over the next 18 months in Zambia amounts to 225 million US Dollars of which 4.7% or 10.5 million US Dollars is already available from existing and re-purposed core and joint programme funds of United Nations agencies, while 215 million US Dollars needs to be mobilized. We are looking to global and country-level pooled funds, bilateral sources and international financial institutions. While resources are mobilized, the United Nations response is already in motion, as all UN agencies have re-purposed parts of their portfolio to respond to immediate needs, including distributing cash grants to most-affected households, raising awareness of the pandemic among vulnerable groups, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, helping micro-finance institutions to maintain their cash flow and upgrading water, sanitation and hygiene access in at-risk communities.

Other support initiatives are in the nutrition, food security and education sectors. Several multi-sector impact assessment initiatives, in collaboration with the Zambian government, are being fast-tracked to eliminate blind spots in the coverage of vulnerable populations. The United Nations in Zambia will continue playing its part on this journey, embracing the objectives, principles and approaches, and will support the government to take the resolute policy and programmatic actions needed to tackle underlying structural causes of vulnerabilities, inequalities and fragility and build back a better Zambia.

Despite challenging resource mobilization efforts, I am proud to say that the United Nations in Zambia has been actively working side-by-side with all stakeholders and in all spheres of development to ensure that COVID-19 does not deepen the existing inequities and inequalities that affect the marginalized, such as children and women.

I wish to acknowledge the government of Zambia’s leadership and commitment on fighting the COVID 19 pandemic in the country a matter on which the UN remains available to support whenever required.

As I close, let me restate what we have as the UN have shared before:

“COVID-19 is real. COVID-19 is here. We know through our work in communities that citizens are generally becoming less cautious and not fully adhering to prevention measures.  I ask that we heighten our vigilance as we have many examples across the world of how confirmed cases can raise quickly and overwhelm the system and undermine our collective good work.  This is not time to relax but time to increase our adherence to the guidelines that have been given by the Ministry of Health.”

We are in this fight together and together we shall overcome COVID-19.

I thank you.

(delivered on behalf of the UN in Zambia)

Speech by
Dr. Nathan Nsubuga Bakyaita
Dr. Nathan Nsubuga Bakyaita
UN entities involved in this initiative
World Health Organization