Econet Wireless founder Mr Strive Masiyiwa has procured mobile test laboratories at a cost of US$150 000 to help Zimbabwe to swiftly detect new Covid-19 cases at its borders.
The initiative comes shortly after President Mnangagwa said the country could not afford to be complacent as cases continue to mount even in South Africa.
In a statement yesterday, Mr Masiyiwa said someone made a presentation to him a few weeks ago on a new technology for T-Testing and he “immediately spotted its potential” to help African countries at borders and airports.
“It can also help airlines. It is called a mobile laboratory. So I acted. We put it on the Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) so that every African country can buy.
“Several African countries have now ordered the system for their borders. I ordered them using my own money; five laboratories for US$150 000 for the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa.”
Mr Masiyiwa, who is an African Union special envoy said he dispatched teams to the border post and, working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, and the Immigration Department, built a full laboratory and staffed it.
“Although the work was done by teams from Econet’s engineering teams working with our ambulance business, Medical Air Rescue Services (MARS). It is for free as part of our own efforts to end this pandemic.
“Our plan is to put such systems at all border posts and airports so that people and goods can move quickly. Instead of waiting five days for results, they can get them within 30 minutes,” Mr Masiyiwa said.
The mobile test laboratory would be critical in detecting Covid-19 at Beitbridge, for now, especially considering that more and more returnees have been testing positive.
Some citizens are skipping borders while others are escaping quarantine centres, resulting in high rates of local transmissions.