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As part of the Business Fighting COVID-19 initiative, Old Mutual Zimbabwe is to provide ZWL$2 billion worth of cover to health professionals on the front line in the fight against the new coronavirus for a period of six months, the premium African financial services group has announced.

According to a press statement released by Old Mutual, this initiative follows Old Mutual and its affiliates’ steps to support the frontline medical workers fighting COVID-19 and reinforcement of innovations capacity in tertiary institutions to tackle immediate and long-term effects of the spread of COVID-19.

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“In this period of crisis, we have mobilised to work alongside those who are fighting the epidemic, which is why we have decided to make this practical gesture of support to our hospital staff, who are working to ensure adequate care for patients as well as universities which are innovating to produce key materials required to fight the pandemic,” said Old Mutual Zimbabwe Chief Executive Officer, Sam Matsekete.

Matsekete added that the package on offer covers the life of health professionals for the period April 2020 to 30 September 2020 with the priority being the safeguarding of health professionals as they battle to serve the lives of Zimbabweans.

In the event of losing the life of a health professional, Old Mutual undertakes to pay up to 12 times monthly basic salary to the surviving family of the health professional and through this scheme, COVID-19 deaths and accidental deaths will be covered immediately whilst death from any other causes will have a three- month waiting period.

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To qualify for the scheme, health professionals will have to register with the Old Mutual to receive free cover for six months with an offer of an opportunity to continue the cover beyond six months at a discounted cost.

In addition, Old Mutual together with its banking subsidiary, CABS have also put together a further ZW$3.5 million towards the fight against COVID-19 to provide healthcare staff at Harare Hospital and at Thorngroove in Bulawayo with protective gear and to assist Africa University in Mutare and Chinhoyi University of Science Education to ramp up production of sanitisers and face masks respectively.

The locally produced protective kits, 200 for Harare Hospital and 200 for Thorngroove Hospital will each include two PVC aprons, two cotton gowns, 10 respirators, 10 overshoes and one box of latex gloves.

“After Seed Co, Old Mutual is the second major corporate that BFC-19 Trust is partnering with,” said Vice Chairperson of Business Fighting COVID-19 (BFC-19), Dr. Lance Mambondiani.

Mambondiani added that the PPE donation went a long way in protecting those on the front line in fighting COVID-19.

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“The donation also enhances the productive capabilities of our local tertiary institutions to accelerate the innovation and production of personal protective equipment at both Chinhoyi and Africa University”.

Echoing Dr. Mambondiani’s sentiments, Africa University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Munashe Furusa said the Old Mutual donation was crucial in supporting efforts to reduce COVID-19 infections.

“As a University, we strongly believe that stopping one infection today will prevent several times as many infections in the future,” added Professor Furusa.

“The grant has therefore come at an important time when Africa University is scaling up its efforts to innovate and produce products that assist in preventing the spread of COVID-19.”

Altogether, the Old Mutual group shareholders have earmarked over ZW$10 million to support government efforts and Zimbabwe in fighting COVID-19.

“Together we will weather the storm,” said CEO Matsekete.