By Style Reporter
The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) last week received a major boost for its humanitarian efforts in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic after receiving more than $1,5 million from Nestlé Zimbabwe.
The donation, which was handed over to the organisation last Thursday, comes at a time when Zimbabwe has been hit hard by the pandemic.
As of Friday, the country had recorded 3 169 cases while 67 people had died of the disease.
Zimbabwe’s biggest undoing has been inadequate testing and tracing contacts.
ZRCS president Edson Mlambo said the donation from Nestlé Zimbabwe would enhance the country’s Covid-19 detecting efforts.
“Through this grant, we will be able to effectively play our auxiliary role to public authorities’ humanitarian efforts in detecting Covid-19 early through increased testing, isolation and treating cases, as well as tracing contacts as we contribute towards the reduction of mortality and morbidity from Covid-19 in Zimbabwe using our wide network of volunteers and staff across the country,” Mlambo said.
“Heroes are born from times of adversity, let us all put hands on the deck and work towards lifting community spirits and provide vital services as we respond to Covid-19.
“This is a time to care for each other, but more importantly to look after ourselves: our own health and our own well-being. This period will pass and we will all bounce back a stronger generation of responsible and resilient citizens.”
Mlambo said ZRCS is actively engaged in increasing health care services, community engagement and pandemic preparedness activities for vulnerable populations.
“The activities include the reinforcement of supplies in medical facilities, expanding sanitation and disease prevention programmes and mitigating the socio-economic impact of the outbreak by ensuring communities maintain access to basic services such as food relief,” he said.
Nestlé Zimbabwe MD Eunice Ganyawu Magwali said the $1 508 000 cash donation was meant to augment ZRCS’s risk communication and hygiene promotion activities.
“The cash donation is earmarked for activities such as procurement of foot lever-operated handwashing stations for isolation centres and health facilities, production of information and educational material on Covid-19 for children, youths and adults and procurement and distribution of hand sanitisers and soap to vulnerable communities,” Magwali said.
“At Nestlé, we care deeply for people and for the communities in which we operate, and we have an essential role to play during the Covid-19 crisis. Our priority is to support the most vulnerable people, especially those in higher-risk areas.”
She said Nestlé globally had partnered with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement since the pandemic started in response to its emergency appeal.
“Here in Zimbabwe, our support will go towards supporting interventions already identified by the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society.”
The donation to ZRCS follows a recent donation of cash and goods worth $445 000 by Nestle Zimbabwe to the government’s Covid-19 disaster fund in May. The donation to government was earmarked for procurement of PPE for frontline workers, while the Nestlé products would help feed frontline workers based at isolation centres.
ZRCS, through its enhanced collaboration drive, has received support from a number of organisations, including Coca-Cola Foundation, Ladies Circle, Chinese Red Cross, Standard Chartered Bank, Turkish Red Cross, International Committee of the Red Cross and other partner national societies and individual well-wishers.
ZRCS acting operations director Tapiwa Chadoka acknowledged the support, but highlighted the need for more resources as cases continue to soar.
“We are thankful for the support from all our local and international partners given the costs involved in such responses,” Chadoka said.
“As Covid-19 cases continue to soar, the need is even more heightened and we are calling on more partners to come on board.”