Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
THE lives of Zimbabweans matter more than the economy which is why the Second Republic put in place measures that have seen the country managing to ensure that Covid-19 infections do not spiral out of control, President Mnangagwa has said.
On the global Covid-19 index, the President said, Zimbabwe is on number 132 while countries like the United States of America which have resources to mitigate against the spread of the virus have been hard hit by the pandemic.
President Mnangagwa said his Government decided to put the lives of people first ahead of the economy fully aware that after winning the fight against the pandemic, the people can work on reviving the economy.
He was speaking during the commissioning a state-of-the-art private ward as Zvishavane District Hospital and Zvishavane Vocational Training Centre hostels constructed by mining giant Mimosa Mine to the tune of about US$1 million in Zvishavane yesterday.
“I would like to mention that yesterday (Tuesday) in Cabinet, my Minister responsible for the mobilisation of materials and resources against the pandemic, Honourable (Orpah) Muchinguri was briefing us about the index, world index of how countries are coping and responding to the pandemic. We were informed that number one is the worst and number 138 is the best, So number one was America, number two Brazil, number three India, number four Russia, number five United Kingdom, number six I think its Spain and then number seven the first African country, South Africa. I think you are interested in knowing where Zimbabwe is. We are number 132,” he said, amid applause from the delegates and Cabinet Ministers as well as Vice-President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Constantino Chiwenga.
“But looking at the resources at the disposal of the first world, looking at the standard of health care of the first world, in comparison to the level of health care and health facility in developing countries like Zimbabwe, one would have expected that the pandemic would be more devastating in countries like Zimbabwe where we have very poor, undeveloped health care. But because, we as a Government decided that lives are more important to preserve than the preservation of economic activities, if we succeed to preserve the lives of our people, close the pandemic, we should be able to stick around and say how do we resuscitate our economy? Therefore, the Second Republic will never, never abandon the cardinal principle of recognising the fact that lives are more important and everything must be done to preserve lives.”
As at October 2, Zimbabwe’s cumulative cases of Covid-19 stood at 7 858, with 6 322 recoveries and 228 deaths.
6 484 of the cases are local transmissions.
There were 50 new cases in week 39, compared to the 174 cases recorded in week 38.
President Mnangagwa commended Mimosa Mine for funding the construction of the two projects.
“Sadly, however, we are witnessing this milestone achievement following the passing on of Mr Alex Mushoriwa who was the general manager at Mimosa Mine and very instrumental in spearheading this project. On behalf of the Government and my own behalf, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the Mushoriwa family, Mimosa Mine, relatives and friends for the loss. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” he said.
Mr Mushoriwa died two weeks ago following a short illness.
President Mnangagwa said his administration values partnerships with all stakeholders in the implementation of people centered projects.
“The modernisation and improvement in the quality of life of our people is indeed a collective responsibility, not government responsibility alone. Individually and collectively, as a nation we have got that responsibility. These completed projects by Mimosa are an answer to the call by my Government for the private sector to be actively involved in the actualisation of vision 2030 and the realisation of development which leaves no one behind,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said the handover of the Zvishavane District Hospital’s private hospital ward comes at an opportune time as the country is still faced with containing Covid-19 pandemic as well as revitalising the health delivery system as a whole.
The refurbished and fully equipped private ward, President Mnangagwa said, will undoubtedly provide quality specialist health care services previously only available in the big cities.
“Since I come from very near here, I’m very happy that the ward can be very useful to me. I congratulate and commend you for bringing this critical infrastructure development closer to the people. Furthermore, I applaud Mimosa for responding to the Government’s call in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
“The company is praised for facilitating the establishment of isolation and treatment centres at Gweru and Masvingo provincial hospitals as well as at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.
“I’m informed that Mimosa Mining Company in conjunction with Murowa Diamond Company rehabilitated Lundi Rural Healthcare Isolation Centre. We thank the two companies for that initiative.
“The Covid-19 pandemic is still with us, I repeat, the Covid-19 pandemic is still with us. I see that all the people I can see have masks. I don’t know if it’s because I’m around, but if you put them on even when I am not here with my Minister, that is the correct thing to do,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said his Government is accelerating the implementation of programmes and sustainable strategies for the provision of quality and affordable universal health care.
To this end, he said the ongoing reforms in the health services sector will improve service delivery and also see the construction and rehabilitation of public health care infrastructure particularly in rural and new resettlement areas.
He said the development of sustainable financing models for the health sector in particular and other social services in general are ongoing.
“The resuscitation of the country’s pharmaceutical industry to increase the availability of affordable drugs is equally receiving due attention. The construction of this state of the art ward by Mimosa, Mimosa has done its part actually, Mimosa has a history of good corporate social responsibility. I remember when I was still MP here, this young man, (Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando) was at Mimosa and did a lot to develop this town. I’m happy that those who have come after him have preserved that culture, that legacy, congratulations to you Mimosa,” he said.
President Mnangagwa urged other companies operating in Zvishavane to emulate Mimosa Mine.
He said the staff and management at Zvishavane District Hospital should preserve and look after the building and equipment so that they last a long time and benefit more people.
“It is now incumbent upon yourselves to preserve and look after and maintain this ward. Mimosa has done their part; it’s now your part as management of the hospital to look after the equipment which you have been given. So, I’m saying, there is a need for our health service professionals to have the right attitude towards their work for these initiatives to have desired lasting impact. I therefore call upon all stakeholders in the sector to be patriotic, loyal and hardworking when serving their community and nation as a whole. I am so impressed, Mimosa provides hamper packages for frontline health workers, against congratulations,” said President Mnangagwa.
“The project we are celebrating today by Mimosa Mining Company included the completed double storey girl’s hostels at Zvishavane Vocational Training Centre (VTC). The infrastructure will enhance the student’s capacity to accommodate female students resulting in their increased enrolment and ultimate empowerment. Mimosa donated 22 computers and I felt challenged and I also said come and get 22 computers from me. I commend Mimosa for also providing associated equipment to the facility which includes computers, refurbished canteen.
“These will improve the education and living experience of the student. I challenge students passing through the VTC to use the facilities and equipment appropriately so that successive students will also enjoy the benefits.”