Mpilo Central Hospital, Tuesday, received a consignment of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from Netone and TelOne, to protect health workers at the hospital against COVID-19.
Healthcare workers rely on PPE to protect themselves and their patients from being infected or infecting others.
But critical shortages are exposing doctors, nurses and other frontline workers to the deadly pandemic.
The country has been importing PPE as local manufacturers are unable to meet the demand while shortage of foreign currency has been an inhibiting factor.
Demand for gloves and masks both locally and globally is at unprecedented levels – with Mpilo Hospital requiring about 1 000 masks a day.
In an interview with CITE after the PPE donation, Mpilo Acting CEO and Clinical Director, Dr Solwayo Ngwenya, said this was a welcome gift to the hospital staff.
“We thank Netone and Telone because PPE is very vital in the fight against COVID-19 especially with the worldwide trend where there is acute shortage of PPE. Netone and Telone have done tremendously to help us become capacitated as we face this terrible disease,” he said.
The clinical director noted that local manufacturers were struggling to meet the demand due to low capacity utilisation.
“There are other local manufacturers who are just coming in, the universities and so forth but their capabilities of providing PPE is still low. For example here at Mpilo Hospital we need at least 600 to 1000 masks a day because we have a huge hospital and a lot of staff members so the consumption just mask on its own is a lot. So the local companies and universities will probably be unable to satisfy the whole demand. Everyone now in Zimbabwe is supposed to wear a face mask, so we are going to have PPEs from outside the country,” he said.
Netone and Telone donated 750 FFP2 Dustmasks, 40 Dromwex goggles, 200 disposable overalls, 200 medium duty aprons, 200 plastic overshoes and 20 hemical overalls.
The parastatals also donated fumigation material such as 20litres knapsacks and hydrogen peroxide spray sanitisers for surfaces, 400 units of 500 ml Isopropyl alcohol-based hand sanitisers and another 400 units of 750ml Isopropyl alcohol-based hand sanitisers.
NetOne Regional Manager for Bulawayo and Matabeleland, Elma Dube, said apart from the protective clothing, the parastals were drilling a borehole and adopted a ward at the hospital.
“This is our contribution as corporates as we join the fight against COVID-19. We have also launched borehole drilling here at the hospital and the company that won the tender is on site, they started today ( Tuesday) and will be done in a couple of days,” she said.
“Netone and Telone put together ZWL$10 million to respond to COVID-19 pandemic.”
Telone Regional Head for the Southern Region, Wing Sibanda added that the PPE donation was an essential part of their response to the COVID 19 pandemic.
“We are aware these institutions are under immense pressure in the advent of the pandemic. We felt as corporate citizens that part of our duty is to assist the hospital’s capacity in responding to the global pandemic,” he said.
In March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) called on industry and governments to increase manufacturing of PPE by 40 percent to meet the rising global demand.
WHO has warned that severe and mounting disruption to the global supply of PPE – caused by rising demand, panic buying, hoarding and misuse – is putting lives at risk from the new coronavirus and other infectious diseases.