Africa University marked yet another tremendous milestone on the 24th of April 2020 as it launched it’s U- Safe Hand Sanitizer in an event attended by Hon. Prof. Amon Murwira, Minister of Higher Tertiary Education ,Innovation, Science and Technology Development , who was also the Guest of Honor and Hon. Dr. Ellen Gwaradzimba, Resident Minister of Manicaland Province. Honourable Prof. Murwira was also accompanied by his Deputy Minister Hon. Raymore Muchingura and the Permanent Secretary in the ministry who is also a former Vice Chancellor of AU, Prof. Fanuel Tagwira. Board Chairman Bishop Mande Muyombo also joined the proceedings online in Atlanta.
The U- Safe Hand Sanitizer that was developed by the Department of Public Health and Nursing led by Doctor Elton Mugomeri in the College of Health, Agriculture and Natural Sciences, is one of many of the University’s responses to the CoronaVirus that coursing through the globe and devastating medical sectors in nations across the world. Hand sanitzer with an alcohol content of over 60% has been named as one of the tools that are effective in eliminating the virus from surfaces and on hands. Sanitizers have become a precious commodity in these times with shortages being common place and where they are available, high pricing locks many out from accessing the precious liquid leaving those vulnerable exposed, most especially those in the health and essential retail sectors .
Speaking at the launch, VC Prof Furusa emphasized the shift in research focus of the University towards generating knowledge that is richly embedded in the African context and experience of the CoronaVirus. He went on to state that AU is set to become a hot bed of business enterprise and innovation in the country expressing gratitude to partners and friends for the support they have given to date. “AU staff and students have answered the call of our nation and our parent Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education to create for our country and continent an education that addresses the most pressing challenges of our continent. Personal Protective Equipment is scarce globally and more so in Africa. Our research teams here at AU seek to fill that gap. The U-Safe Hand Sanitizer will support current efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus. One infection that we stop today prevents hundreds of others tomorrow.”
The Guest of Honor Honorable Prof. A. Murwira expressed his joy at the uptake of the vision of Education 5.0 by institutions of higher learning in the country. Speaking to the importance of this revolution in education to the continent he said, “The aim of education is not only knowledge but action! Our task as a Ministry is to provide the nation with the capability to achieve this…. It is high time that capability and opportunity have a meeting! We have moved from an education of literacy to an education of innovation. An education must make you and keep you busy. Ours should be an education of goods and services. That is what Africa University has done! In 2018 you achieved education 4.0 when you opened your innovation hub and now today you are the embodiment of education 5.0, you have created products and goods for the country. Make more things! Don’t feel constrained at all, you have the full support of this Ministry!”
Dr. Elton Mugomeri and his team are working together with the University’s i5hub to manufacture face masks for use by members of the public ,whose design allows for more comfort and air circulation while maintaining the highest health standards through a unique filtration system that ensures all- round protection.
In an extension of love and support, AU donated 1000 Litres of the U- Safe Hand Sanitizer to the Old Mutare Mission Hospital, the Mutare Provincial Hospital and the Office of the Minister of State of Manicaland Honorable Dr. Ellen Gwaradzimba . Hon. Dr. Gwardzimba said, “This donation is so welcome and I am so proud of this university. You continue to lead from the front. One of the challenges we are facing is behavior change in our people where social distancing practices are not being followed. Let us come together to educate our province and beat this scourge together!”
AU has many more exciting projects in the pipeline to assist the nation and region by increasing capacity to effectively handle public health emergencies. The University’s Clinical Research Centre has been selected to become a potential testing site for COVID- 19 in the Manicaland Province based upon AU’s sterling track record and reputation in Malaria research and its capacity to run large test samples . Further to this, the University’s i5Hub is creating an online commodities trading platform that will allow ease of business in Manicaland and prevent the necessity for traders to gather or travel in light of the CoronaVirus outbreak.
On the horizon Africa University intends to develop a Space Airborne Technology and Application Lab that will facilitate the study and help in the understanding of airborne diseases thereby assisting in the development of robust control measures to mitigate the spread of disease on the continent.