Gauteng spent more than R14m on ‘fever tents’ in fight against Covid-19

16 September 2020 - 16:55
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize and Gauteng health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku toured the Tshwane District Hospital and the Steve Biko hospital in July. Mkhize also inspected a triage tent where Covid-19 positive patients can be separated from those who are negative. File photo.
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize and Gauteng health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku toured the Tshwane District Hospital and the Steve Biko hospital in July. Mkhize also inspected a triage tent where Covid-19 positive patients can be separated from those who are negative. File photo.
Image: Sunday Times/Thapelo Morebudi

A total of 26 “fever tents” were erected at various health facilities in Gauteng to help in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, acting health MEC Jacob Mamabolo said on Wednesday.

The tents, set up in July — mostly at the entrances to health facilities — were used to help with the screening of patients. He revealed that the department owned 13 of the tents.

“A request for services was sent through to Gauteng department of infrastructure and property management (GDID) for suppliers to provide the tents ... at a cost of R7.8m for rental contracts which were concluded through GDID, while R 7.1m is for the total number of tents purchased to be owned by the department,” he said.

Mamabolo called on the department to ensure that temporary infrastructure including the fever tents be “strategically deployed beyond the pandemic”. 

He was speaking after a preliminary audit of Covid-19 temporary structures as part of his provincewide visit to health facilities after his appointment as acting MEC over a month ago.

“The strategy of Gauteng has always been to invest in legacy projects through major refurbishments and additional beds at existing hospitals such as Jubilee Hospital, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital and others. These projects continue to be implemented and are at various stages. They are an investment into the health system even post the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

While other provinces had invested in field hospitals, Mamabolo said Gauteng invested in one only — the Nasrec Expo Centre.

“The Gauteng disaster management provincial command council resolved a while back that there will be no expansion of field hospitals. The burden of disease, feedback by clinicians on the ground and how well the province had done in its response to the pandemic, reduced the need for field hospitals,” he said.

The Nasrec field hospital remains operational.

“The equipment invested in the facility largely belongs to the department and will be repurposed to be used in Gauteng health facilities after the pandemic,” he said.

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