RPSA COVID-19 Response

Project completed

SDC will provide to Zambia, Lesotho, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Mozambique urgent assistance to support health facilities to cope with COVID-19 pandemic. In Zimbabwe, it will also help the food aid delivery system by increasing distribution points so that safety conditions are respected. By Investing in a strong COVID-19 response as a first mover, SDC safeguards its previous investments and long-term development outcomes in these countries. 

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Southern African Development Community (SADC)
Humanitarian Assistance & DRR
Health education
Protection, access & security
Sector not specified
01.05.2020 - 31.12.2020
CHF  2’275’000
Background The World Health Organization (WHO) declared  COVID-19 a global pandemic on 11 March 2020. Global cases reached over 1.5 million by 9 April 2020 with 89’000 deaths. The African continent has reported over 11’000 cases and 600 deaths, believed to be  a gross underestimate due to weak testing capacity. The Southern African region is neither prepared nor able to respond adequately to the multiple challenges posed by the pandemic.The five target countries have weak, under-resourced health systems unable to cope with the upcoming case load. In light of this, the WHO and Governments have called for urgent, well targeted interventions to provide support in the control and management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the COVID-19 response in Zimbabwe requires urgent support to ensure that humanitarian interventions are able to continue withincreased protection of humanitarian workers and beneficiaries. 
Objectives To prevent vulnerable populations across five Southern African countries from avoidable morbidity and mortality due to the COVID-19 pandemic; specifically, (1) to support 13 district health systems across the five countries to prepare for and cope with COVID-19 and (2) tto continue providing vital food assistance to the most vulnerable Zimbabweans while ensuring that all required health and safety measures are in place to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 during food distributions. 
Target groups

TG1:    Frontline health workers across the five (5) target countries and humanitarian workers in Zimbabwe; 

TG2:    Highly vulnerable groups such as people living with HIV, TB, malnutrition or untreated non-communicable diseases (NCDs) (the majority of cases) and the elderly (few); 

TG3:    People living in poverty seeking primary healthcare services in 13 underserved intervention districts;

TG4:    In-kind food assistance recipients across 60 districts in Zimbabwe. 

Medium-term outcomes

1.1:    To keep the health staff healthy and improve their capacities to treat COVID-19 patients as well as prevent the infection of high-risk groups such as patients with HIV, tuberculosis (TB), malnutrition or untreated non communicable diseases such as hypertension or diabetes;

1.2.    Health facilities are capacitated to assure primary healthcare services continuation to the population.  

2.:    To allow the continuation of food distribution by protecting the safety of staff and beneficiaries, with  the required personal protective equipment (PPE), and by increasing the distribution points so that guidelines on gathering and social distancing can be respected. 


Expected results:  

 1.1:    1‘236 frontline health workers supported with PPE and protection against infections;

1.2:    400’000 people highly vulnerable to infection and severe COVID-19 disease are safeguarded;

1.3:    Health facilities in 13 district dispose of basic equipment and apply appropriate medical protocols;

2.1:    958 WFP field staff and cooperating partners are equipped with PPE;

2.2:    158 critical health workers receive financial support  to ensure that health screenings at food distribution sites in Zimbabwe are conducted;

2.3: Nine additional staff are hired as surge capacity to support additional needs and allow distributions to continue in a timely manner.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Swiss Non-profit Organisation
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • Solidarmed
  • World Food Programme

Other partners


WFP Zimbabwe 

Coordination with other projects and actors Hospitals, health administrations and Ministries of Health in the intervention countries; partnerships with local civil society organizations and NGOs; Local Authorities; WHO; Government of Zimbabwe 
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    2’275’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    2’220’000 Budget inclusive project partner CHF    25’000’000
Project phases

Phase 1 01.05.2020 - 31.12.2020   (Completed)