Econet steps up Ebola response

Econet Wireless has been working quietly behind the scenes with various government departments, including the Ministry of Health and Child Care, to prepare Zimbabwe for any possible outbreak of Ebola.

Confirming the arrangement, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe CEO Mr Douglas Mboweni, said: "Every Econet Wireless operation was directed by our founder Mr Strive Masiyiwa several months ago to set up an Ebola Response Task Force to work with the authorities in the countries in which Econet operates.As Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, we have a budget to support the various initiatives. This includes providing financial support to initiatives by government. We are working very closely with government and key NGOs. Our sister companies also have their own budgets and work plans in the countries where they operate.”

Mr Mboweni said his mission was to ensure that Ebola does not break out in Zimbabwe, but if it does, it must be isolated quickly and the infected people given treatment.

"To fight Ebola, you have to go to the source, but you also have to prepare for potential outbreak in other countries. We, as a group, are involved in both efforts,” he said.

Mr Mboweni urged companies in Zimbabwe, both big and small, to take Ebola seriously. “Ebola is very dangerous and we must all take steps to protect our workers, our communities and our countries. We would be happy to share our work plans with others,” he said.

The Econet Wireless Ebola Response Task Force in Zimbabwe reports to a group Taskforce, which is headed directly by Mr Masiyiwa, and is dealing with similar efforts in countries like Rwanda, Lesotho, and Burundi. The team includes doctors and other specialists. Econet Wireless Group is one of the many African companies that are supporting the initiative by the African Union (AU) to send health workers to the affected countries. “We will definitely be there as we have to work together."

Econet Wireless is a seasoned campaigner when it comes to addressing any disease outbreak. When Zimbabwe was afflicted with cholera in 2008, the company set up the National Healthcare Trust which mobilised doctors and nurses to fight the outbreak. It has continued since with its activities to help strengthen public health systems in the country. 

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