ZIMBABWE: Jesuits Join Fight against Covid-19

HARARE, MAY 15, 2020 (CISA)-The Society of Jesus (Jesuits) through its tertiary institution, St Peters Kubatana Industrial Training College, has joined the fight against Covid-19 in the country by carrying out mass production of masks and hand sanitizers.

According to a May 8 report by Fr Anesu Manyere SJ, the Director of the institution, the masks are submitted to the Ministry of Health for sanitization and then distributed to hospitals, clinics and other areas.

“Our response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been influenced by many factors. Being in the ghetto we felt it might be good to do something but we weren’t sure what exactly. Little did we know that many other institutes of higher learning were thinking around similar ideas. When the government challenged the institutes to do something, principals came together and led by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education they decided to put ideas they had been talking about into practice. Thus we were challenged to make our innovations a reality,” he said.

“For the masks, we received samples from the World Health Organization (WHO) experts who partnered us with the University of Zimbabwe (UZ). A half a day training course was held at the UZ and two of our lecturers attended. These in turn came with samples, which we used to make our own masks. Our masks were approved as matching the WHO’s clinical standards and we received orders to make more,” he noted.

According to Fr Anesu, 10 people are directly involved in the work and they are supervised by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education and the Ministry of Health officials. Eight of them are students at the institution who are enrolled in the short course of Tailoring, Garment Technology and Design.

“We are proud to take part in this initiative. We are yet to determine how much sanitizers we will be making. This work is ongoing and we envisage making more masks even beyond the period of the pandemic. We will need more materials when we come to that,” he noted.

Zimbabwe has as at May 15 recorded 37 Covid-19 cases, 14 recoveries and four deaths.