President Mnangagwa has expressed gratitude to Zimbabweans and those in the Diaspora for collaborating in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen the country being ranked among countries that instituted better mitigatory measures against the deadly disease.
Zimbabwe has been ranked number 102 by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The rankings were crafted in such a manner that countries in the single digit category did not do well in fighting the pandemic while those with double digits did better and those with three digits did well.
Countries that recorded the most deaths and infections such as the United States, Britain and Italy, are in the single digit category.
Addressing corporates and organisations from Bulawayo who had come to present Covid-19 donations towards the operationalisation of Ekusileni Hospital in Bulawayo at State House yesterday, President Mnangagwa said although the country’s health sector was facing challenges, Government and the people were more conscious and took mitigatory measures more than other countries.
The function was attended by Vice Presidents Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi, and Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, who is the Covid-19 National Taskforce chairperson, among other top Government officials.
The companies and organisations under the banner, “Iam4Byo-Fighting Covid-19”, donated various goods.
The National Social Security Authority (NSSA) donated $50 million, United Refineries Limited donated laundry equipment while the Ecumenical Leaders Forum donated 48 beds.
Gold producer How Mine donated a fully equipped borehole, with USA diaspora donating 16 intensive care unit (ICU) beds, Edgars Stores chipped in with 400 sets of linen, the Hindu Society donated 100 mattresses and pillows, and Treger Group came in with fitted kitchens.
CBZ also donated $1 million, the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) donated ICU and high dependency beds (HDU) while BOC Gases cancelled the hospital’s previous debt and further donated an oxygen tank for piped oxygen.
President Mnangagwa said WHO had ranked countries according to how they were faring with regards to the impact and mitigation of the pandemic.
“Those with single digits didn’t do well. Those with double digits were better than those with single digits but Zimbabwe goes to the three digits. We are number 102,” he said.
He said the US was on number 1, Brazil 2, Russia 3, India 4, Britain 5 and South Africa 7.
“When you look at the capacity of these individual countries’ economies, one would think they have more muscle and both capacity and capability to deal with the pandemic far much more than us who have weak economies.
“Because of the realisation that we do not have a solid health infrastructure system in place, we become more conscious than those who have,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said Government had prioritised serving lives even if it meant negative impact on the economy.
“Post Covid-19 pandemic we can still sit around the table as we are and discuss how to resuscitate our economy and how to grow our economy. Since time immemorial before Christ, even before the Roman empire, we have never had a conference where people discuss on how to raise the dead.
“So we will not be an exception. We need to take measures to preserve lives. But we need to identify that which is critically important and correct and quite another to be able to carry the nation with that vision. We as Government feel extremely proud that our people: individually, as groups, communities, companies, churches, organisations and as societies, have moved and responded to this appeal to show compassion and make contributions to fight and mitigate the impact of this pandemic,” said the President.
President Mnangagwa appreciated those in the Diaspora for making significant contributions although most of them were ordinary workers.
He said while it has taken long, Ekusileni now boasts of top quality equipment donated by the companies.
“It is because the population is facing a pandemic and we have come together to fight it and Ekusileni is one of the instruments or the tool which we are going to use to fight this pandemic. I am happy that Minister (of Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Judith) Ncube was instrumental in galvanising and being pivotal to the groups in Bulawayo coming together and sharing the challenges you are facing.
“That is what it should be and I am happy for that,” he said.
Minister Ncube said the collaboration among various stakeholders, had yielded positive outcomes as they had donated towards the operationalisation of Ekusileni Hospital under phase one.
“I express appreciation and gratitude to President (Mnangagwa). The process of operationalisation of Ekusileni Hospital would not have reached this far without your guidance and leadership,” she said.
NSSA chairman, Mr Cuthbert Chidoori, said the hospital needed further investments in various areas to make it fully functional.
“It is for this reason that NSSA has joined hands with Government and other organisations such as ‘I am 4 Bulawayo Covid-19’ in fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic. We shall strive to complement efforts in ensuring Zimbabwe is on the road towards prosperity,” he said.
URL representative and chairman of the “I am 4 Bulawayo” Trust, Mr Busisa Moyo said: “We got together initially as business in Bulawayo to mobilise resources to see where we could assist. We created a vehicle, Trust, and we coordinate the donations and highlight the needs and communicate to colleagues in the private sector Now made up of churches, Hindu Society, doctors, among others,” he said.
Bishop Ambrose Moyo of Ecumenical Leaders’ Forum said: “As churches, building peace, bridges between people and nations, individuals and communities, is our core business. We felt let’s contribute because it’s an opportunity given to us as a church by the President to contribute towards this noble cause.”