NUST receives Jairos Jiri Humanitarian Award

THE National University of Science and Technology (NUST) has been awarded the Jairos Jiri Humanitarian Award for its outstanding work in the practicalisation of Heritage-based Education 5.0 in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.

NUST led from the front in support of His Excellency, President Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa’s fight against the pandemic.

When Covid-19 hit the country, NUST was among the local universities that came up with different response strategies.

Through the Innovation Hub, NUST started manufacturing sanitisers, disinfectants and face-masks.

Working with a group of researchers from the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, the Innovation Hub set up a sanitiser production team.

The University received seed capital to set up a production plant on campus.

Since 2020, the plant has produced over 400 000 litres of sanitiser trading under the trade name NUSTISER, which was certified by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) under their standard ARS ZWS HS 1470:2020.

In addition to sanitiser production, the sanitiser production plant was retrofitted to produce disinfectants in the form of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide as well as Hypochlorite based disinfectants.

To date over 200 000 litres of disinfectant have been produced at the plant.

Currently, plans are at an advanced stage to manufacture liquid handwash and detergents as well as establishing a water purification and bottling plant.

The major customer for the sanitiser, disinfectants and PPEs produced under the Innovation Hub has been the National Pharmaceutical company of Zimbabwe (NatPharm), which procures the products on behalf of government departments and ministries.

Also, working with researchers from the Department of Fibre and Polymer Science, the Innovation Hub embarked on the production of PPE in the form of re-usable cotton cloth face masks.

The NUST Innovation Hub engaged Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Bulawayo under a Toll manufacturing arrangement.

To date over 450 000 face masks have been produced.

In April 2020, the University, using its state-of-the-art machinery and skilled personnel from the Applied Genetics Testing Centre (AGTC) set up a PCR Testing Centre at the National TB Reference Laboratory at Mpilo Hospital.

NUST offered Covid-19 testing services from April to December 2020 to five provinces of Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Masvingo and Midlands.

By the time the Government took over the testing programme in Bulawayo, the NUST team had tested over 40 000 samples.

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