VICE President and Minister of Health and Child Care(MoHCC), Dr Constantino Chiwenga has applauded local universities and local industries for producing high quality Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), and urged them to go a step further in producing local medicines so as to reduce medical importations.
By Patricia Mashiri
Speaking during State Universities and local industries PPEs exhibition coordinated by the National Pharmaceuticals held under the theme “Enhancing The Availability Of Locally Made PPEs Through Collaboration With State Universities and local manufacturers,” Vice President Chiwenga said the exhibition was clear testimony of the vast and potential which the nation has to produce its own goods and services including medicines and medical supplies as the country marches towards an upper middle income society by 2030.
We Zimbabweans as number are number one in terms of education on the African Continent and of course being counted in the world as the most educated lot why should we go out to source things when we have got the brains. Let’s develop that ability, capability and build our country. Whatever we intend to we will achieve it.
“The local production of PPEs in large volumes was in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020. The heartbreak of disasters and pandemics such as COVID-19 should therefore engender our resolve to find vast lost solutions to our domestic problems. Industrialization as exposed in all our economic grouping should take centre stage in all our members to achieve sustainable social economic and transformation by our national vision 2030. I therefore urge State Universities and local manufacturers to capitalize fully on the opportunities presented by the challenges we face, to innovate and produce the much needed commodities,” said VP Chiwenga.
He added that the pandemic gave rise to supply chain challenges with production in most countries hold due to measures which were being implemented to contain the pandemic.
“Relying with education 5.0 philosophy that government in April 2020 availed an initial ZWL33 million to State universities for the manufacture of PPEs to avert the national shortage of the commodities needed to fight the Corona virus. The funds availed were for the production of face masks and hand sanitizers by institutions of higher learning.
“I would like to encourage universities involved in this noble national assignment to invest part of the process in research and development for the local production. You continue with research as we did on sanitizers and PPEs to develop medicines so that we stop importing from other countries."
Meanwhile Professor Amon Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development said the adversities the country faced during the COVID-19 pandemic taught the nation that it must build and make things on their own.
“Government has supported State Universities to successfully set up manufacturing plants for the production of industrial and household personal care products, personal protective equipment and allied health products. The COVID-19 interventions by universities were a huge success in the manufacturing of sanitizers, PPEs , facemasks, medical theatre caps, plastic aprons, medical theatre overshoes and theatre gowns.
“We commend the many local players who have heeded the government’s call for production of the PPEs as we fight COVID-19 pandemic. To this end we say, Zimbabwe will never be the same again. We are on our path to industrialize and modernize,” Prof Murwira said.
Blessing Kambarami, Chair of Local PPE Manufacturers said COVID-19 was one of the biggest challenges the globe has faced and there was need for local solutions for local challenges.
“I urge local companies to take this initiative seriously because solutions to our local problems can be solved if we put out minds together. The COVID-19 situation led the disturbance of service delivery,” Kambarami said.
Universities that took part in the exhibition include Harare Institute of Technology (HIT), University of Zimbabwe (UZ), Midlands State University (MSU), Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) among others. On the other hand companies and manufactures who took part include Medical Solution among others.