HARARE, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) -- China on Thursday handed over a multi-million dollar state-of-the-art pharmaceutical warehouse to the Zimbabwean government, which is set to boost Zimbabwe's drug storage capacity and improve its health delivery system.
Constructed and funded by the Chinese government, the project cost 22 million U.S. dollars and is situated at the country's second largest referral hospital, Sally Mugabe Central Hospital, in Harare.
Construction of the warehouse by China's Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group Limited (AFECC) began in 2019 and was completed in April 2022.
Speaking at the handover and commissioning ceremony, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa praised China for its support to Zimbabwe's health sector.
He noted that such solidarity and support signals the strong bond between the two countries, adding the country is grateful to China and the new warehouse meets international standards of efficient medicine storage.
The warehouse, one of the largest in the southern African region, has a surface area of about 43,000 square meters and a building area of about 13,700 square meters. Its designed capacity will reach 10,000 pallets from the current 6,000 pallet capacity.
"The increase is set to significantly improve the operational efficiency in the access of medicines, drugs and medical consumables in our health delivery system and further enhance our quest to achieve universal health coverage," Mnangagwa said.
Handing over the warehouse, Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun said the project demonstrates the time-tested friendship between the two countries, adding that it will play an important role in Zimbabwe's medical and health undertakings, especially in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the project was timely as Zimbabwe has been looking for ways to stimulate the localized production of pharmaceutical products, so as to reduce over-reliance on imports.
The National Pharmaceutical Warehouse is one of the many projects that feature Chinese aid to Zimbabwe, along with several projects in agriculture, water, energy, infrastructure, education and health sectors, the ambassador noted.
"China will continually and sincerely support Zimbabwe to achieve Vision 2030 and safeguard its sovereignty and independence," the ambassador added.