US$70k boost for southern region

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Tamary Chikiwa
in BULAWAYO

THE Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has rolled out a US$70 000 Covid-19 relief fund to help the southern region of Zimbabwe mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

The fund, which was donated through the Useni Sibanda-led Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (ZCA), is targeted at assisting isolation centres in Matabeleland South, North, Midlands and Bulawayo provinces.

Sibanda, who is the ZCA executive director, told the Daily News this week that they had already begun installing solar systems, connecting water supply and purchasing protective clothing for staff at isolation centres.

“We received US$70 000 and we have started work. We are focusing on installing solar power systems at isolation centres so that in case of power outages, patients and staff won’t be affected.

“We are also working on installing water tanks since water is also a challenge and we are providing protective clothing to frontline staff who are dealing with Covid-19 patients,” he said.

Sibanda said as of now, the ZCA had installed 5 000-litre water tanks at the National Social Security Authority quarantine centre in Beitbridge, Plumtree quarantine centre and in Gweru.

“During such times water is a very critical need hence provision of the precious liquid is one of our priorities. We also know that there is a water shortage in our country,” he said.

Sibanda added that his organisation also installed solar power systems in Plumtree.

“In Plumtree, we have just installed a solar system to ensure that the institution has continuous power for testing and for people to get results. We are supporting all quarantine centres in the targeted provinces,” he said.

Sibanda said at Thorngrove in Bulawayo, eight intensive care unit beds are to be delivered to ease the shortage of space.

“We are also providing protective clothing, blankets and food at quarantine centres and we have done so at Gwanda district hospital as well, “ he added.

As for big referral hospitals like Mpilo Central Hospital, Sibanda said they are yet to get quotations of resources needed so they could assist.

“We haven’t done anything for hospitals like Mpilo, but once we get information on resources needed, we will mobilise and seek donor funding to assist.

“My organisation has been working tirelessly in terms of resource mobilisation and we are grateful to donors like the FCDO that partnered with us in helping our brethren,” he said.

Sibanda said the government should prioritise the lives of frontline workers like doctors and nurses.

“These people are doing a great job and they really need special care. Government should prioritise them. This is why we set aside funds for their protective clothing,” he said.

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