Transaid has secured vital seed funding for a new six-month project to help protect health supply chain and mobile workers in Zambia from the increased risk of exposure to COVID-19. Professional drivers in particular have been battling deteriorating working conditions, potentially increased road safety risks and lack of access to information and training to support them during this global health crisis.
The project, which will also build capacity and preparedness within the transport and logistics sector against future pandemics, is one of the four recipients of People that Deliver’s Grand Challenge for Last Mile Health Supply Chain COVID-19 Support. It follows a donation from the FIA Foundation to support projects in sub-Saharan Africa that seek solutions to critical health commodity transportation and logistics challenges brought on by COVID-19.
Caroline Barber, Chief Executive of Transaid, explains: “More than 90 per cent of goods in Zambia are transported by road, and drivers have been facing increasing scrutiny whilst enduring a rising level of unpredictable hazards on a daily basis.
“This project will see us working closely with our partners on the ground to deliver vital sensitisation and key messaging to health supply chain workers at the heart of Zambia’s public health response to the pandemic.”
Transaid will develop specific COVID-19 training for roll out to all trainers at the Industrial Training Centre (ITC) in Lusaka, which it has partnered with since 2008. ITC will then deliver this training, along with essential personal protective equipment (PPE), to 100 colleagues working in transport and logistics functions at Medical Stores Limited – the state owned body responsible for the storage, handling and onward distribution of all essential medicines for Zambia’s public health sector. This will then be integrated into future training delivered by ITC, helping to ensure an increased readiness within the sector for dealing with future pandemics.
Transaid will also develop driver specific COVID-19 factsheets in line with Ministry of Health guidelines, focused on preventative measures including hand-washing, cab sanitisation and symptom recognition. These will be distributed to at least 2,000 professional drivers involved in domestic and cross-border freight transport, as well as those undertaking last mile distribution.
Dr. Lloyd Matowe, PtD Coalition Chair, says: “Transaid clearly understands the current issues on the ground in Zambia and they recognise the importance of drivers as key workers. We are confident their work will have a sustainable, long term impact, amongst a workforce which is critical to keeping both the health and food supply chains functioning.”
In April, Transaid launched an initiative to support 300,000 people living in rural Zambia prepare for COVID-19, by strengthening and adapting community systems already in place through the MAMaZ against Malaria (MAM) at Scale programme, using funding from the FIA Foundation.
Since June, Transaid has also been supporting HGV drivers in Uganda to protect themselves during the pandemic, in a project funded by the Employment and Skills for Development in Africa (E4D) Programme.