The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Reporter
CHURCHES have availed their facilities to be turned into isolation centres during the Government’s fight against the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
This comes amid revelations that in Bulawayo work is underway to also have Hillside Teachers’ College and Elangeni Training Centre turned into isolation centres if the need arises. Speaking during the launch of the “I am for Bulawayo fighting Covid-19” initiative on Friday, vice-president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, Pastor Trevor Masuku, who is also the EFZ Bulawayo provincial chairperson, said they had already pledged their facilities to President Mnangagwa as part of their contribution to the fight against the spread of the pandemic.
The “I am for Bulawayo fighting Covid-19” initiative, which is registered as a Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO), is working with the Government to spearhead the establishment of Ekusileni Medical Centre as a national Covid-19 isolation centre. The organisation is also working on equipping other Covid-19 related facilities in Bulawayo including Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital and Mater Dei Hospital.”
Pastor Masuku said they had noted that in some cases it would be impossible for people to self-isolate due to their living conditions hence the need to identify other facilities for them to move into.
“We met with the President a week ago where we said that churches have huge auditoriums and buildings they are occupying, all over the country, which during this period are not being utilised hence we are availing them for use as isolation centres whenever they are required for use by the Government. As the church we recognised that in some of our communities it is impossible for one to self-isolate therefore we saw it fit that instead of having these churches turn into white elephants let them be used for a good cause in the fight against the spread of this pandemic,” said Pastor Masuku.
He also revealed that besides isolation centres, church buildings could also be used as feeding zones for the less privileged.
Speaking during the same launch, the initiative chairperson, industrialist Mr Busisa Moyo revealed that their Trust was not just on spearheading the reopening of Ekusileni Hospital but they would also work at equipping all the other facilities, including the churches and other centres in the city.
“As an initiative we are not centred on Ekusileni alone but rather we are working on the wholesome picture of fighting the spread of the pandemic in the city and country as a whole. Our team is already working on identifying other isolation centres in the city which we will equally work on equipping. Just yesterday (Thursday) I was talking to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Professor Paul Mavhima, who is a member of the Ad-Hoc taskforce on Covid-19 where we discussed the issue to turn Hillside Teachers College and Elangeni Training Centre into isolation centres, all these will thus need us to work together and equip them with the necessary facilities,” said Mr Moyo.
Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Cde Judith Ncube confirmed that a number of facilities have been offered to be utilised for various Covid-19 related uses. People living on the streets will also be accommodated in such facilities.
“I have been busy in the past two days touring these facilities with my officials, seeing how we can utilise them during this crisis moment. We especially appreciate all those that have come forward because the only way we can defeat this pandemic is if we work as a unity,” she said.
Meanwhile, trustees of the “I am for Bulawayo fighting Covid-19” initiative that were presented during the launch include. They are Mr Moyo, Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda (Agriculture expert), Mr Douglas Bramsen (Masca chief executive officer), Ms Janah Ncube (international crisis management consultant), Mr Walter Chigwada (Zimplow managing director), Dr Wedu Ndebele (pediatrician), Professor Mqhele Dlodlo (Nust Vice-Chancellor), Mrs Sithandile Ngwenya (lawyer) and Pastor Masuku.