Tawanda Marwizi

The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society has joined hands with Nestle Zimbabwe in the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in schools distributing Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) in schools.

Schools in Mashonaland Central and West have received PPEs that include face masks, hand sanitizers and foot buckets to be used by pupils to avoid contracting the novel Coronavirus.

All classes across Zimbabwe commenced lessons with the third and final phase of schools opening being implemented this week.

The distribution of PPEs received plaudits from teachers and schools authorities who expressed their gratitude to the ZRCS and Nestle Zimbabwe saying it would go a long way in the fight against the pandemic.

“This is a welcome gesture because we had no money as schools to buy such equipment but this donation will go a long way in assisting us. I am glad that we have this donation coming,” one of the teachers said.

In Mashonaland West, District Development Coordinator Benjamin Zivanai, who received the PPEs said government partnering the private sector was a welcome development in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is welcome because it will go a long way in assisting the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 in schools. We are looking forward to more partnerships between government and private because this disease is real,” he said.

ZRCS communication manager Kim Stambuli said since the declaration of COVID-19 as a national disaster the society had put in place a response plan to compliment government in the response to the global pandemic.

“The plan was inspired by the organisation’s humanitarian duty and the need to complement the National Preparedness and Response Plan specifically on risk communication and community engagement, infection prevention and control and operational support and logistics. Various agencies have supported the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society accomplish this task and key to this has been Nestle Zimbabwe’s $1 508 000 support to ZRCS for COVID-19 response,” he said.

Through the donation the ZRCS reached out to millions of radio listeners with COVID-19 risk communications on four radio stations namely, Capitalk, Nyaminyami FM, Great Zimbabwe FM and National FM with a total of 40 sessions aired on these stations.

Kim said to enhance infection, prevention and control, 35 hand washing stations, 197 masks, 190 sanitizers and 10 thermometers were also procured.

“To ensure high risk perception and adherence to government regulations, 154 posters in English, Shona and Ndebele on the probability of contagion and another 220 posters on involvement of children in the COVID-19 fight were produced to raise awareness within communities.  These, together with other ZRCS support from different partners, are being distributed to institutions like schools, children’s homes, clinics and old people’s homes,” he said.

To date, Bushu primary and secondary schools in Shamva have received a combined total of 1 035 masks, four hand washing stations, 100 hand sanitizers, 10 thermometers, 25 posters and 200 fliers.

Part of the Nestle Zimbabwe consignment has also been distributed to ZRCS offices throughout the country to ensure employees and stakeholders also have personal protective equipment to continue carrying out their humanitarian work.