The National University of Science and Technology (Nust) and the Midlands State University (MSU) have started manufacturing face masks and sanitisers respectively as part of their contribution to fighting against Covid-19. Nust is making the masks and hopes to join MSU in manufacturing sanitisers soon.
The Bulawayo-based Nust started manufacturing the masks last week and is distributing them free to members of the public. The MSU incubation hub is manufacturing the sanitisers which the university said will be sold at affordable prices to members of the public. The two universities have risen to the challenge facing the nation which is the Covid-19 threat. This is as it should be.
President Mnangagwa has urged institutions of higher learning to churn out graduates capable of producing transformative innovations which he said are critical for Zimbabwe to achieve rapid modernisation. Nust and MSU have demonstrated that given the support, Zimbabwe’s institutions of higher learning can address many of the challenges facing the country.
President Mnangagwa said technological innovation underpins Zimbabwe’s endeavour to industrialise and create a prosperous economy. He said the new education model should give impetus to institutions of higher learning to consolidate their position as centres of excellence in science education.
Nust director of communication and marketing Mr Felix Moyo said Nust feels obligated to contribute in many ways in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak that has put the whole world in a crisis. He said the manufacture of masks was just one of the many ways that the university was contributing to the fight against Covid-19.
Speaking at the commissioning of the sanitiser manufacturing plant at MSU, Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Larry Mavima said Government looked up to universities to invest in intellectual infrastructure and scientific knowledge to fight not only Covid-19 but other challenges facing the country.
Last year Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) built a state- of- the- art facility that produces and stores at least seven million semen straws per year.
Zimbabwe has potential to earn more than US$140 million annually from exporting cattle semen produced at this facility.
It is encouraging to note that our universities are taking a lead in finding solutions to challenges facing the nation and the focus now is on Covid-19.
It is our fervent hope that the universities will go beyond manufacturing consumables to improve personal hygiene which we want to emphasise, are critical in curbing the spread of Covid-19.
We are looking forward to our universities assisting international scientists in finding a cure for Covid-19 which has killed more than 50 000 people worldwide and infected more than a million.