Zimbabwean business organisations have mobilized US$5 million to upgrade and equip at least five Covid-19 isolation and treatment centres across the country.
The project is in support of government led initiatives to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic which has so far claimed one life in Zimbabwe while eight other people are being treated for the disease.
Dubbed the Business – Prevention, Preparedness and Response Initiative (BPPRI), the grouping comprises members of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), the Chamber of Mines, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, the Zimbabwe Business Council for Tourism and the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe.
In a statement, the BPPRI said targeted sites would be provided with medical supplies, equipment and 50 beds each specifically for Covid-19 isolation and treatment.
The targeted medical facilities include the Montague Clinic, either the Sally Mugabe or Parirenyatwa Hospitals in the capital, Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo, Mutare and Masvingo General Hospitals.
“Indicative budget for this is plus or minus US$5 million and will be confirmed once we receive costings from Crown Agents,” it said.
“PPE equipment has been procured and should be landing and cleared in a day or two for distribution to the public health system by Natpham.”
The BPPRI said gaps had been identified in the national response to COVID-19 in terms of catering for critical cases.
“The two sites that are currently there are ready for mild to moderate cases,” it said.
“It is therefore key that we participate in the expansion of the mild to moderate care capacity for COVID-19 across the country.”
In another aspect of the initiative, the BPPRI said ProProplastics, DripTech and Megapack would provide tanks and pipes for 10 000 litres mobile water storage at 6 public hospitals while phone company, TelOne would provide 4 tank stands.
Sugar manufacturer, Tongaat Hullets had availed 300 000 litres of ethanol worth ZWL 8.4 million for the production of hand sanitisers while also setting aside ZWL 12 million for hospitals refurbishment in Masvingo.
“For all imported items CZI has entered into an arrangement with Crown Agents International who are emergency supply chain specialists and who already have some of the materials in their warehouse for us to draw down from.
“This will expedite procurement as well as ensure the items are procured by experts in the business. Payments will be made directly to Crown Agents once the costs are finalised by them. Local procurement of items will be done through the CZI.”
Outside the national initiative launched by the BPPRI, business communities in Matabeleland and Manicaland provinces have joined forces with various partners to tackle the outbreak.
“Matabeleland has initiated a sector wide collaboration to tackle the virus and this includes the business community, individuals in Zimbabwe and the Diaspora, civil society and other actors establishing a Trust to mobilise resources and coordinate the initiative. The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries Bulawayo office will provide the coordination and administrative support as in the national initiative,” it said.
On the other hand, the Manicaland business community has entered into a partnership with the Rotary club to roll out the business response to COVD-19.
“ZWL 1 060 000 has been raised and refurbishment work has commenced at the Mutare General Hospital.”
On its part, the government has to date availed over $500 million for the fight against COVID-19, as well as making an international appeal for US$220 million. – New Ziana