Chinese firms in Zimbabwe partner with local institution in fight against COVID-19

Monday, July 20th, 2020 00:00 |
Photo taken on July 17, 2020 shows the Intensive Care Unit at Health Point Upper East Medical Center in Harare, Zimbabwe. (Xinhua/Chen Yaqin)

Three Chinese firms operating in Zimbabwe have teamed up with a local medical institution to establish a COVID-19 treatment and isolation center in the country.

Hongyu Enterprises, Jin'an Corporation and China Mingchang Engineering Corporation partnered with Health Point, a private medical institution in establishing the facility.

Health Point is providing medical expertise while the Chinese firms are providing medical equipment and funding at an investment of more than 3 million U.S. dollars.

The Harare-based facility, named Health Point Upper East Medical Center, will have a capacity to accommodate more than 80 intensive care patients at a time when it officially opens next week.

The development comes at a time when Zimbabwe is witnessing a spike in locally transmitted COVID-19 cases.

A total of 1,420 cases were reported as of Friday evening, with 24 deaths and 438 recoveries.

Michael Li, Executive director of Health Point Upper East Medical Center, said in an effort to complement government efforts in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese community in the country decided to partner a local institution to establish the facility.

"After we started this project, the first major decision we made towards opening and receiving patients is that we realized that none of us in the Chinese community were experts in the medical field, so the first major decision we made was to partner with Health Point."

Li said the Chinese embassy also provided support to the project.

"The Chinese embassy gave us a lot of help as well, from finding the equipment to helping us with the logistics," he said.

Li said the motivation behind the establishment of the facility was not profit driven, but was driven by the desire to serve the community.

He said they will also consider opening a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) center at the facility.

"We are definitely thinking of opening a TCM center here. But anything that is new to society and community takes time."

"So we are looking forward to working together with the Zimbabwean health authorities and health professionals to share our knowledge and to collaborate together so that the community will accept TCM in a good way," he said.

Since the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in Zimbabwe, China has made a notable contribution to the country's fight against the pandemic.

In addition to providing technical support, China has donated a significant amount of medical supplies to the country to help it combat the coronavirus.

Chinese companies operating in the country offered over 500,000 U.S. dollars in March for the rehabilitation of Wilkins Hospital in Harare, one of Zimbabwe's isolation and treatment centers for COVID-19.

The renovation enhanced the hospital's capacity to handle infections, increasing beds for COVID-19 patients to about 60 from 35. (Xinhua)

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