Picture: Andreas Gebert/Reuters
Picture: Andreas Gebert/Reuters

Coronavirus in SA: Gift of the Givers sets up subsidised testing centres

By IOL Reporter Time of article published Mar 23, 2020

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Cape Town - The Gift of the Givers is assisting several state hospitals in Gauteng with medical equipment and protective garments to deal with testing and treatment of coronavirus cases and has also set up a testing centre in Johannesburg.

There are plans for two further testing sites, one in Roshnee, Vereeniging and another at Ahmed Al-Kadi Hospital in Durban, which GOTG says will be up and running later this week. 

Testing at these sites is subsidised and at R750 costs significantly less than at private laboratories. The cost of a test at private facilities can be as much as R1 500.

The charity has partnered with Vuma Mobile, a network of healthcare professionals, which enables it to be appraised within minutes of a positive diagnosis anywhere in the country of what interventions are needed. The app has also proven an invaluable tool for poorly resourced healthcare facilities to put out a request for much-needed medical supplies. 

Gift of the Givers has already intervened as a partner to the government's Covid-19 initiative, augmenting public health services by supporting medical professionals with protective wear, supplying relevant essential medical equipment and providing medical consumables to the institutions in urgent need. 

"Requests from all quarters are very similar: N-95 protective mask, 3-tier lower cost mask for selected patients, scrub suits, hand sanitisers, disinfectant, sterile gloves, disposable sterile gowns, goggles, visors, ventilators and related equipment," said Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman.

"Chris Hani Baragwanath, Raheema Moosa and Helen Joseph Hospitals have requested tents, protective wear and consumables. They want these tents OUTSIDE the existing hospital infrastructure to reduce risk to the other patients who may be immunocompromised. We have funded this already at 700 000 per month. Installation (will take place) tomorrow," he said.

Sooliman also revealed that his charity was assisting the government with some other Covid-19-related interventions.

"The National Health Minister is fully appraised of our intervention through the Deputy Director of emergency and disaster medicine in the department, Ahmed Bham, who was appointed by the minister to lead the team to repatriate South Africans from Wuhan," Sooliman said. 

"Ahmed is head of Gift of the Givers Search and Rescue team. He is currently in charge of the Quarantine Centre at The Ranch. Various health departments, disaster management services nationwide and a MEC have requested a partnership with Gift of the Givers to deal with the anticipated health challenges." 


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