Gift of the Givers pledges support to help fight coronavirus

16 March 2020 - 09:43 By Iavan Pijoos
Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of Gift of the Givers, says the organisation has put aside R5m from its emergency reserves to help in the fight against coronavirus.
Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of Gift of the Givers, says the organisation has put aside R5m from its emergency reserves to help in the fight against coronavirus.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

Humanitarian group Gift of the Givers has pledged its support in the fight against the coronavirus, should the need arise.

The organisation's founder, Imtiaz Sooliman, said R5m had been put aside from emergency reserves for this purpose.

Sooliman said Gift of the Givers would also make available its emergency medical equipment and ambulances to support public health services, if necessary.

“It is at this critical phase that Gift of the Givers intends to intervene if the need arises, focusing on providing protective equipment for high-risk medical personnel in the front line dealing with the virus, and purchasing ventilators, intubation sets and general medical supplies required for the management process,” he said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of disaster on Sunday after the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country reached 61.

The president implemented bans and restrictions regarding schools, universities, prisons, visas, travel and group gatherings.

Sooliman said with BackaBuddy they would start a crowdfunding initiative to “intervene at more facilities should the volume of critically ill patients increase”.

“These are only precautionary steps, with no need to cause panic, as the greatest form of disaster management is disaster preparation. The reality is that government alone will not manage if we have large numbers of critically infected people.

“Support from corporates, medical and other professionals, high net worth individuals and anyone and everyone who can contribute in some way will be mandatory,” he said.

Sooliman said borehole drilling programmes would continue in the Eastern Cape and QwaQwa, targeting schools, clinics and hospitals, delivering clean water via tankers for drinking and hygiene purposes seven days a week.

“The absence of clean water in drought affected areas will complicate efforts to curtail the spread of the virus. Government needs to consider appropriate action urgently.

“Another simple measure that may not cause too much disruption is to extend the Easter school holidays by a week.”

Contributions can be made to BackaBuddy to “support the doctors, nurses and medical staff that work in the ICUs and high care units across medical facilities in SA” or to the Gift of the Givers, Standard Bank, Pietermaritzburg, account number 052137228, reference Covid-19.


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