In a virtual address to students at UWC, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said the coronavirus pandemic presented an opportunity for students to come forward with ideas and innovations. File photo: Nqobile Mbonambi/African News Agency (ANA)
In a virtual address to students at UWC, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said the coronavirus pandemic presented an opportunity for students to come forward with ideas and innovations. File photo: Nqobile Mbonambi/African News Agency (ANA)

We need people who can work with data, Mkhize tells students

By Robin-Lee Francke Time of article published Jun 19, 2020

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Cape Town - In a virtual address to students at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) on Friday, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said the coronavirus pandemic presented an opportunity for students to come forward with ideas and innovations.

“On Youth Day, I called on South Africa’s pioneering spirit – the same spirit that is so epitomised by black excellence produced in this university – to become the masters of our own destiny and choose how this story is going to end for us. 

“We need people who collect data intelligently, analyse it practically and are able to make recommendations to government that advance and protect the Constitution,” he said. 

Mkhize told the students that when it came to Covid-19 case management, the government was achieving its goals.

"We aimed to test 30,000 a day and we are attaining that goal. We get very close to that figure despite global shortages of test kits and reagents," he said.

More than 18 million South Africans have been screened and 1.2 million people have been tested for the coronavirus, he noted.

He added that field hospitals and repurposed facilities have been constructed to ramp up bed capacity by over 20,000, while quarantine facilities have a bed capacity of more than 37,000.  

Mkhize said the health department also has dedicated teams for each sub-district as part of its hot-spot approach to managing the outbreak. 

The ministerial advisory committee was issuing an advisory to guide protocols for the use of the drug dexamethasone to treat Covid-19 in a clinical setting, he explained. 

“We have checked and seen that we have over 300,000 vials in stock at present and we have the added advantage that the company licensed to manufacture the product is a South African company,” Mkhize added. 

 African News Agency/ANA

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