Zimbabwe: Private Sector, Churches Join COVID-19 Fight

Zimbabwean companies and churches continue to mobilise needed equipment to fight Covid-19 as Zimbabwe confirmed its tenth case yesterday.

President Mnangagwa received two consignments of protective equipment and an offer to drill two hospital boreholes with police now joining health staff and also being allocated donated masks and gloves.

The tenth patient is a 24-year-old woman living in Harare who returned from Britain two weeks ago, the Ministry of Health and Child Care announced last night.

The latest donations were received by the President at State House in Harare with Vice Presidents Dr Constantino Chiwenga and Cde Kembo Mohadi present.

Timber Care of Manicaland, a Chinese-owned company, handed over face masks and promised ventilators, specialised equipment needed for severe Covid-19 cases, while Skylake Borehole Drilling promised to drill two boreholes for free at hospitals. The Latter Day Saints Church, also known as the Mormons, handed over protective equipment and sanitisers.

"Timber Care is donating 10 000 face masks and 400 special one pieces. They are also donating ventilators and these are now coming," said President Mnangagwa after receiving the donation.

Skylake managing director Mr Tatenda Samkange said his company wanted to drill the boreholes at Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital or any other hospital of the President's choice.

The President said Vice President Mohadi, who chairs the Covid-19 Inter-Ministerial Taskforce, would advise the firm of where to sink the boreholes.

He was happy with the boreholes donation, and suggested others should follow the good gesture by Skylake.

Mr Samkange said the gift was part of giving back to the community that has contributed to the growth of the company.

Provision of water and sanitation was crucial to the smooth running of hospitals, hence their move to complement Government efforts in reducing the emergence of water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid for patients being treated for Covid-19, by ensuring uninterrupted water supply.

The boreholes will have a capacity of 40 000 litres an hour.

The Latter Day Saints Church made the last donation of a consignment of hand sanitisers, gloves, medical gowns and face masks, which was mobilised through Angel of Hope Foundation, whose Patron is First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa.

President Mnangagwa said some of the face masks that are part of the donation have already been allocated to the Zimbabwe Republic Police to ensure officers' safety while at work.

"This is a donation from a church group mobilised through Angel of Hope Foundation. Some of the material is still coming and we are very grateful.

"There are sanitisers for hand washing and spraying buses and streets in town, medical gowns, masks and gloves some of which we have already given to the police," said President Mnangagwa.

The business community has been largely forthcoming in support of Government efforts to deal with the challenges posed by Covid-19.

Some companies have packages for nurses, doctors and critical equipment such as ventilators to be used by patients.

While frontline health staff receive the bulk of the assistance, others in State service who need protection are not being left out.

Almost all Harare traffic officers on the roads were yesterday seen wearing white gloves and face masks after the President intervened. There was a public outcry over police's lack of protective gear in the first week of the lockdown, with many worried about the safety of both the officer and the public they dealt with.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi hailed President Mnangagwa for the gesture, saying the President availed substantial quantities of protective equipment to the police.

"The majority of police officers in Harare now have the equipment and the distribution is cascading to other provinces to ensure all of them get at least gloves, masks and sanitisers," he said.

Asst Comm Nyathi said Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe and police Commissioner General Godfrey Matanga were also sourcing more equipment for the officers.

"As we speak, there are several efforts being made by Comm Gen Matanga and Minister Kazembe to ensure that officers have the requisite protective equipment."

Social media reports last week showed police officers in lorries and pick-up trucks, at times numbering over 50, with no protective clothing. In some videos people were questioning whether or not the police were immune to Covid-19.

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