Coronavirus: Zim Turns to Local Suppliers For Mask Production

The Zimbabwean government is mulling plans to rope in local manufacturers in an audacious move meant to reduce the critical shortage of masks and other protective equipment needed to fight the spread of coronavirus.

The country is yet to record a single case of the COVID-19 which continues to ravage across the world with more than 5000 deaths so far from the more than 168 000 people infected.

However, there is a global shortage of masks, space suits and hand sanitizers, which are key components in halting the spread of the deadly virus.

Health and Childcare Minister Obadiah Moyo said Zimbabwe will emulate other countries in making available locally produced masks after consultations with manufacturers.

“We are looking at the possibility of even recommending to our local manufacturers to also start producing these products. We can work out, get the dimensions and requirements to produce face masks locally.

“Other countries are doing that, its working and therefore, we have to do the same. We want to be able to meet with our local industries so that they can come up with materials to make the masks, the spacesuits and balaclavas. If it can be made in India, it can be made in Zimbabwe.

“We just have to study, look at it and reproduce. Even though we are at zero cases, we want to start behaving as if we are already affected so people are aware and can prepare themselves. We will continue to pray that COVID-19 will not come to Zimbabwe,” Moyo said.

He revealed that Zimbabwe needs in excess of USD5,2 million to fight the virus and the treasury department has already started disbursing part of the amount.

“We have submitted our budget to the finance and treasury department, and the government has already started disbursing we submitted a budget of USD5.2 million, we are just being careful noting that we do not have adequate resources in terms of foreign currency in Zimbabwe,” Moyo said.

Last week, the Globa Fund donated USD25 million towards coronavirus preparedness in Zimbabwe which Moyo said will also go towards the acquisition of safety equipment.

“We are very happy that the Global Fund has come forward and assisted us with US$25 million so, with that, we should be able to get quite a lot of supply but I must emphasize that there is a big demand for all these safety equipment worldwide, each and every country needs this safety equipment for its citizens, so we are having to compete,” he noted.

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