Govt acknowledges corporate support in Covid-19 response

The government has acknowledged that it would not have managed to effectively respond and manage the Covid-19 pandemic without the support of development partners and the corporate sector.

This was said by Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr John Mangwiro in Bulawayo Monday while officially accepting a refurbished hospital ward at Mpilo Central Hospital.

The 35 bed Ward B5 was renovated and refurbished by TelOne and NetOne, bringing the much-needed facelift to the public health facility.

“We acknowledge that preparation to respond and manage the Covid-19 pandemic has not been easy for the country. It is with this background that I express my most sincere appreciation for the gesture by Telone and Netone, which we have all witnessed,” said the deputy minister.

He noted that the Covid-19 period has proven difficult for the whole world including Zimbabwe with its own circumstances.

“There’s been a huge loss of lives. The industry has suffered huge billion dollar losses indeed the health sectors all over have witnessed an unprecedented demand and disruption. This is true to our own circumstance as Zimbabweans where we have witnessed significant disruption of other routine health care services,” Magwiro said.

“Government would not have succeeded in managing the pandemic without the support of partners from the corporate space like Telone and Netone. I speak glowingly of the intervention in the context and background of expansiveness of the project these two have embarked on to support the ministry since the onset of Covid-19 pandemic.”

The deputy minister noted that Mpilo’s refurbished ward could easily be transformed into an intensive care unit, as it had the necessary equipment.

In the keynote address, Deputy Minister of Information Communication Technologies, Postal and Courier Services, Dingumuzi Phuti, praised the collaboration of the two telecommunications companies, which fell under his ministry’s purview.

“The two state owned entities made a 50/50 joint Covid-19 mitigation corporate social investment initiative and put together a combined ZWL$10 000 000, as well as medium to long term projects that seek to capacitate public health facilities,” he said.

NetOne Acting Chief Executive Officer, Chipo Jaisson, noted the current state of public health care sector impacted on its ability and level of preparedness to deal with Covid-19, which is why they offered necessary financial support to effectively build capacity during and post Covid-19.

“The objective is to create a suitable safe and clean environment that will nurture patients back to health while promoting a culture of legacy in our public health facilities. Furthermore, we will be handing over five ICU beds to assist the hospital cater for patients that may require high dependency or intensive care support,” she said.

TelOne Managing Director, Chipo Mtasa, said their partnership with Netone was built on this background and realisation that public institutions were in bad shape from years of neglect due to resource limitation.

“We also realised that to reclaim these facilities we needed to assist each other and support the government because of the magnitude of the work at hand. We also took the decision to support public hospitals like Mpilo Central because this is where the bulk of our staff members and even relatives are treated,” she said.

Mpilo Acting Chief Executive Officer, Professor Solwayo Ngwenya, commended the government for heeding calls to take preparatory measures against the Covid-19 pandemic and lessen impact in the communities.

“It was a good move to bring the lockdown. What it did was it separated people and protected the whole nation from this terrible disease, which was the effect of decisive action as we didn’t suffer a lot of deaths. This lockdown allowed institutions like Telone and Netone to come and capacitate public hospitals and we thank them for coming,” he said.

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