The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has delivered donations to South Kivu administrative division in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
IITA says the initiative is part of its social responsibility activities. It was, however, in collaboration with the Catholic University of Bukavu (UCB).
The relief package is part of a short and long-term action plan to assist the provincial government of South Kivu during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
This first batch of relief materials included mattresses for medical use to facilitate the extension and creation of a new reception centre for persons infected with COVID-19.
Among items supplied were also bags of rice and beans, oil, and protective masks, for people affected by COVID-19 in South Kivu.
During the handover ceremony, IITA Director General, Nteranya Sanginga, highlighted IITA’s framework of corporate social responsibility as the foundation for this action.
He said it also constitutes an opportunity for the Institute and its partners, such as UCB, to demonstrate their capacity to support the Congolese government in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and its associated food security risks.
The Governor of South Kivu, Theo Ngwabidje Kasi, received the donations from IITA Scientist Kokou Kintche.
Governor Kasi thanked IITA for its support to the province. He noted that while IITA is a long-term partner of the DRC government, the Institute is increasingly becoming the strategic partner for South Kivu development.
The governor cited as an example the fish project funded by the DRC government, which IITA is co-implementing with Fond pour la Promotion Industrielle (FPI).
In the coming days, IITA will commence the distribution of a second batch of materials, which will consist of 500 rapid test kits and 3000 swabs (secretion collection tools).
The rapid test kits will be handed over to UCB and the General Hospital, while the swabs will be given to the provincial ministry of public health to facilitate the use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a method or tool for diagnosing viral diseases.