From George Maponga in Masvingo
Masvingo continues to make headway in contributing towards the fight against Covid-19 with Lowveld sugar maker Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe donating 20 000 litres of ethanol to Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) for the manufacture of hand sanitiser to be distributed in the province.
GZU started sanitiser production early last week, with the institution joining other local universities in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and nearly 1 000 litres of the commodity have been produced and handed over to the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
The institution’s Department of Natural Sciences is spearheading the sanitiser production project.
Stocks of sanitiser are expected to surge across Masvingo beginning this week as GZU is expected to deliver a further 3 000 litres to the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
Masvingo is still to have a positive Covid-19 case as tests conducted so far have come out negative.
According to GZU Vice Chancellor Professor Rungano Zvobgo, the institution has since expanded into the manufacture of protective clothing as the fight against coronavirus gets more traction.
Professor Zvobgo said protective clothing and mask production had started at the university’s Robert Mugabe School of Education.
“We received a donation of 10 000 litres of ethanol from Tongaat that we are currently using to manufacture sanitiser and this week we will be handing over 3 000 litres of sanitiser to Government, bringing close to 4 000 litres, the total we have produced to date for fighting Covid-19.”
“Tongaat has offered to donate another 10 000 litres which we will collect once our stocks get depleted and we have the capacity to keep the ethanol in our storage tanks located in the Masvingo industrial area.”
GZU has already put in place mechanisms to continue ethanol production beyond the exhaustion of donated ethanol stocks.
Professor Zvobgo pledged his institution’s readiness to continue contributing to the fight against Covid-19 by coming up with solutions to help contain the deadly scourge.
Professor Zvobgo said GZU stood guided by President Mnangagwa’s call for universities to be hotspots for solutions in the fight against the deadly virus that has caused tens of thousands of deaths and infected nearly two million people around the globe this year alone.
Tongaat Hulett recently donated $12 million to help combat the virus.
Byword Motors and Bikita Minerals chipped in with $100 000 and $50 000 respectively to augment the war chest from the Lowveld sugar producer.
Part of the donated funds were used to finance installation of equipment at the main provincial isolation centre in Masvingo City’s Rujeko suburb with a large chunk of the remainder going towards upgrading and equipping district isolation centres across the province.