Botswana: Task Force Ropes in Private Sector for Covid-19 Vaccine Procurement

Gaborone — The Presidential COVID-19 Task Force has initiated a national plan for acquisition, logistics and vaccination of Botswana against COVID-19.

According to a task force news release issued Wednesday, this is to ensure there is a deliberate way of harnessing financial and in-kind donations from the private sector towards specific causes in the containment of COVID-19.

It says the plan will focus on procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, services and equipment required to roll out the national vaccination campaign.

The release says the March 2021 Botswana COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment Plan includes content contribution from the private sector and its costing.

Thus, the plan, estimated to cost P1.6 billion, was jointly developed by government and the private sector and subsequently endorsed by the task force.

"To date, the government has availed P700 900,00 (44%) for vaccines and doses whose payments were due by June 7, 2021," it says.

Government, it says, has appealed to the private sector to partner with it to immediately protect those likely to succumb to COVID-19 as reflected in Phase 1 of the National Vaccination Roll Out Plan.

"Key assumptions include pre-existing health insurance will contribute a cumulative P152 000 000 (10%) towards their own vaccination and willing private sector employers would contribute combined P167 million (10%) towards vaccinating employees without pre-existing health insurance.

This leaves a funding gap of P590 000 000, which government (with participating private sector entities) is committed to covering through other funds," it says.

It states that a robust governance framework is in place to ensure coordination and deployment of donations to be received from the private sector for procurement of vaccines.

Details of where to send donations will be shared with the private sector through Business Botswana, says the release.

It says funds raised by the private sector shall be kept in an established financial tool, which will ensure transparency and governance.

Therefore, the release of funds will be governed by contractual requirements and based upon specific needs being met, it says.

The task force is confident that this concerted process will ensure that sufficient funds are raised from the private sector in the shortest possible time and augment those by government to procure vaccines for an estimated 2.4 million people.

To date 149 268 persons have been vaccinated.

The release says in addition to protecting lives, the wider economy will be able to function as fully as possible and stimulate private sector activity if enough people are vaccinated.

It says timely collaboration with the private sector on vaccine acquisition and deployment will reduce the escalating number of fatalities witnessed among those over the age of 55.

It remains critical to vaccinate this age category first so that the younger generations are assured that their older relatives are protected against COVID-19 by the time that younger adults in employment get vaccinated during Phase 2 of the rollout, says the release.

The task force says it has since March 2020 noted commendable contributions and efforts by various entities in the private sector, regardless of size, towards the containment of COVID-19.

It says such donations have been either cash or in kind.

"They have included Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) contributions to COVID-19 campaigns targeting either frontline staff or the public and entrepreneurial lessons by Business Botswana, which is part of the Presidential COVID-19 Task Force, on how to stave off the effects of COVID-19 on the economy," says the release.

Source : BOPA

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