The Econet group today handed over personal protective equipment (PPE) worth $730 738 to two of the country’s major COVID-19 referral hospitals, with three more hospitals scheduled to receive their consignments early next week.
The money was raised by the public in response to an appeal made by the group for donations towards the fight against the Coronavirus epidemic.
The group, through its Higherlife Foundation, then used the donations – made by over 8 000 individual donors through an EcoCash merchant code and Steward Bank accounts created for the purpose – to purchase over 2 000 PPE consisting of PVC overalls, overshoes, latex gloves, pairs of goggles and disposable surgical masks, among other protective items.
The donations today were handed over at brief ceremonies held at the Wilkins Hospital COVID-19 referral centre in Harare and at Thorngroove Hospital in Bulawayo, where they are expected to be used by frontline healthcare workers. Similar handovers are set for Gweru, Mutare and Masvingo general hospitals next week.
Econet group CEO Dr Douglas Mboweni commended the public for its response to a worthy cause. He said:
I would like to thank every one of the over 8 000 individuals that donated towards the fight against the spread of the Coronavirus. Such a broad-based unity of purpose gives me great hope that, with the help of God, we can beat this disease and win the fight against this epidemic in our country.
Zimbabwe has so far recorded 51 confirmed cases of people who have tested positive to the disease, with four deaths recorded in the country since the outbreak of the disease earlier this year.
Higherlife Foundation CEO Dr Kennedy Mubaiwa also commended the public for supporting the fight against the deadly virus, that has infected over 5 million people around the world. Said Mubaiwa:
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has seriously impacted societies and put a huge burden on healthcare delivery systems and an even bigger strain on frontline healthcare workers.
In many developing countries, including Zimbabwe, where healthcare delivery services are not as resilient as they should be, the pressure on frontline healthcare staff is immense.
Which is why the public’s response to our call to strengthen our national healthcare infrastructure and support frontline medical staff fighting the COVID-19 epidemic is so encouraging and must be applauded.
It will not only go a long way towards meeting a pressing need, but it also sends a clear message to all the healthcare workers out there that we, Zimbabweans, are together with them in this fight, and they should keep up the good work.
Accepting the donation on behalf of the Harare City Health Services Department at the handover in Harare, Wilkins Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Hilda Bara said the public donation of the PPEs through the coordination of the Econet group would go a long way in the fight against Covid-19. She said:
We appreciate the generous hand extended to us as Wilkins Hospital. The donation of PPEs could not have come at a better time than now when we definitely need constant supplies of PPEs.
As front line health workers, PPEs are crucial tools of trade for us and with correct and consistent use of PPEs, the risk of contamination is reduced.
Most importantly, we commend the generality of Zimbabweans for responding to the fund mobilisation call by Econet Group in the common fight against COVID-19.
Mubaiwa said the donation platforms made available by Cassava Smartech’s EcoCash and Steward Bank remained open to receiving public support towards fighting the disease, via the EcoCash merchant Code 018533, or Steward Bank Special Accounts 1037225367 or US$ Account 1037226811.