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Solidarity fund gives R405m for 'critical medical equipment'

10 July 2020 - 16:22 By TimesLIVE
Among the equipment that will be bought are additional hospital beds, ventilators and high-flow oxygen devices.
Among the equipment that will be bought are additional hospital beds, ventilators and high-flow oxygen devices.
Image: 123RF/Yuriy Klochan

The Covid-19 solidarity fund has set aside a further R405m for “critical health-care equipment” in public hospitals in Gauteng, the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape.

Gauteng on Wednesday was confirmed as the official Covid-19 epicentre in SA, overtaking the Western Cape. The Eastern Cape is third.

Among the equipment that will be bought are hospital beds, ventilators and high-flow oxygen devices.

In a statement, the fund said: “The national health response is being phased and co-ordinated across the provinces, in line with projected demand for health services. These are based on the epidemiological modelling of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in each of these provinces. The strategy involves the activation of additional hospital beds at various acuity levels, as well as the provision of field hospital capacity, through both reallocation and procurement of resources.

“The predicted demand is for more than 100,000 general ward beds and more than 26,000 critical-care beds at the peak of the pandemic.”

Of the R405m, more than half (R209m) will be spent on equipment for Gauteng while R120m has been set aside for the Western Cape and R76m for the Eastern Cape “where there is insufficient general ward and ICU capacity and an urgent need for oxygen devices in particular”.

On top of this, the fund said it had approved R250m towards 20,000 locally made ventilators.

“The locally manufactured ventilators are expected to be delivered at the end of August in line with the predicted infection peak,” the fund said.

The fund said that it had, since its establishment in March, approved more than R2.097bn to fund initiatives to prevent, support, detect and care for those affected by the  pandemic.

“So far, the fund has approved R1.929bn towards health interventions, R137m towards humanitarian relief efforts and R31m towards education and awareness programmes.

“As at July 9 2020, the fund has received R3.02bn in pledges, with more than R2.7bn already deposited. More than 300,000 donors have contributed to the fund so far, with 2,067 of these being corporates and trusts and 298,528 are individuals who have either donated directly or through fundraising platforms,” the statement read.

Interim CEO Nomkhita Nqweni said: “We are facing perhaps one of the most critical phases since the outbreak of Covid-19 and the fund’s contribution to the national health response will help save lives and better equip public hospitals in hotspots to cope with the increased demand as the pandemic heads towards its peak. We thank each and every one of our donors for their support that makes it possible for us to ensure that critical medical equipment gets to those who need it most.”