Lafarge Zambia and Zambian Breweries have donated K100,000 to the University of Zambia (UNZA) School of Engineering to help develop the nation’s first prototype ventilator.
The two giants of industry are backing the UNZA innovation as part of their wider support to the fight against COVID-19.
Lafarge Chief Executive Officer Jimmy J Khan said health and safety is Lafarge’s core value, thus the health and safety of our communities, customers, suppliers and transporters was of great importance to the company.
“With the increase in COVID-19 cases around the country, the need for ventilators has never been as compelling as now. That is why Lafarge Zambia sees the importance of being part of this project. The project will not only assist in relieving certain pressures off our health system and help save lives; but it would also instill national pride, as this would be the very first ventilator that would be manufactured by Zambians in Zambia,” he said.
Zambian Breweries Country Director Jose Moran said the company believed in working together for a better Zambia, and the collaboration with Lafarge fitted well with its dream to improve the lives of local people.
“The people of Zambia are at the heart of what we do. Their safety and wellbeing are paramount to us. We also have a track record of supporting entrepreneurs and innovation, so we will be backing UNZA and look forward to the ventilator being perfected and potentially saving lives,” he said.
Both Zambian Breweries and Lafarge have implemented a number of initiatives internally and externally to ensure the health and safety of their employees, transporters, customers, and suppliers.
Internally, Lafarge has installed temperature checks, hand sanitisers and mandatory wearing of masks for all employees, transporters, and guests that enter its plants.
Employees have also been advised to work from home where possible, a culture being promoted at both plants. Regarding customers, the company partnered with AfriDelivery to enable customers to buy cement from their site to ensure that they are adhering to social distancing measures advised by Government.
In the communities near its plants in Chilanga and Ndola, Lafarge has provided vehicles branded with COVID-19 messages and public announcement systems to sensitise people on preventive measures, to help curb the spread of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Zambian Breweries has developed a hand sanitiser formula and is manually bottling it for donation only to healthcare workers and staff, as well as importing 5,000 face shields made from recycled plastic for use by healthcare workers, and donating over 6,000 posters and 10 billboards for COVID-19 communication to government since the breakout of COVID-19 in March this year.
Mr Khan thanked Zambian Breweries for allowing Lafarge to partner in this iconic project; he also reiterated the fact that both Zambian Breweries and Lafarge Zambia were local companies that supported the growth of the economy through job creation and taxes. That is why supporting a local initiative like this is very rewarding.
Mr Khan further thanked Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) for creating the platform that has brought together the manufacturing industries where this project proposal was shared.