Helping professional drivers in Zambia during the COVID-19 pandemic

We have 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. During the pandemic, professional drivers in Zambia have been battling deteriorating working conditions, potentially increased road safety risks and lack of access to information and training to support them.

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, Transaid CEO, 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 has been our driver training partner since 2008. The 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 the ITC, helping to ensure an increased readiness within the sector for dealing with future pandemics.

We 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 working on 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.”

The project is the latest in our efforts to tackle COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa. In April, we launched an initiative to help 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, we have also been empowering 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.

Help us combat COVID-19 in Zambia

In times like this, access to healthcare is more important than ever. That is why we’re asking for your help to ensure that no one gets left behind in the fight against COVID-19.

Our supporters were instrumental to the success of MAM, helping us expand into our fifth Zambian District. Now we are asking for your help to rise to the new challenge of COVID-19. Communities like Chola’s are likely to be amongst the hardest hit by the pandemic. Help them prepare for COVID-19 by donating here.