By Kudakwashe Vhenge
Universities are turning into firms to produce medical gowns, hand sanitisers, soaps and face masks as Zimbabwe faces 21 days lockdown the government declared to fight against the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Health Minister Obadiah Moyo in an interview with the state-owned press said that local production is encouraged because in China where people have been buying these products there is huge competition worldwide.
“Everybody wants to buy the same products, so everyone is competing for that,” he said.
“We have also requested our embassy even the Chinese embassy to give us assistance that they may be able to access the manufacturers in China and also some other countries which are producing these protective equipments.”
The tertiary institutions involved in the scheme include the University of Zimbabwe, Bindura University of Science Education, Midlands State University, NUST, Chinhoyi University of Technology, and the Harare Institute of Technology according to a briefing by Information Minister; Monica Mutsvangwa on the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Covid 19 yesterday.
“As of yesterday, Chinhoyi University of Technology has produced twelve thousand (12 000) face masks and is working on producing 10 000 sanitizers and 10 000 hand soaps,” she said.
“Bindura University Science Education and Harare Institute of Technology have the capacity to produce 1000 litres of sanitizers each per day and are working towards this.”
“The University of Zimbabwe has the capacity to produce 5 000 litres sanitizers per day and 60 000 face masks per month. MSU has the capacity to produce 42 000 litres of hand sanitizers and 10 000 face masks per month.” Mutsvangwa went on.
Zimbabwe has already conducted 188 COVID tests and seven of the tested cases came out positive.
The country has already recorded one death of COVID-19 which was imported from a Zimbabwean citizen who travelled from the USA.