Gift of the Givers staff hand over PPE at Victoria Hospital in Alice. Picture: Supplied
Gift of the Givers staff hand over PPE at Victoria Hospital in Alice. Picture: Supplied

WATCH: How Gift of the Givers stepped up in Covid-19 fight

By Kelly Jane Turner Time of article published Jan 8, 2021

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Cape Town - From the time the national state of disaster was announced, relief organisation Gift of the Givers has unwaveringly taken on the challenge to support South Africa's Covid-19 response and to ensure the protection of front line healthcare workers.

“We specialise in disasters, we are a disaster relief organisation. The Covid-19 pandemic is the biggest disaster we’ve had in our lifetime,” said the organisation’s founder Dr Imtiaaz Sooliman.

The non-profit organisation has thus far provided medical supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE), mobile Covid-19 testing and screening units and food relief.

“The challenge was huge in 2020 because we don’t allow existing projects to drop. We are involved locally and internationally. Fortunately, we are very well organised in terms of logistics and supplying aid. We have fantastic teams who are hard-working,” he said.

During the second wave, one of the biggest challenges hospitals have been facing is that they have been running out of oxygen machines, said Sooliman. However, the South African National Ventilator Group designed Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines which are used for effective oxygen delivery.

“The feedback on these machines has been absolutely magnificent,” he said.

Here’s how Gift of the Givers made an impact during the pandemic:

  • PPE was provided to two hundred hospitals and clinics around the country.
  • Ten Covid-19 testing sites were set up throughout the country with three mobile teams.
  • The organisation provided six staff to assist Livingstone Hospital in June and in December, nineteen new paramedics joined.
  • 37 triage tents were put up near several hospitals around the country at a cost of R3 million per month.
  • Freesia ward in Mitchells Plain was developed at a cost of R10 million.
  • A new 20-bed Covid-19 isolation facility was developed at Settlers Hospital in Grahamstown.
  • A wing was renovated for doctors’ accommodation at Bisho Hospital.
  • At least 12 000 CPAP respiratory units have been delivered to hospitals nationwide.

South Africa’s Covid-19 cases stand at over 1.1 milllion, while more than 31 000 people have died.

With the focus of the pandemic now shifting to vaccines and how the government is set to distribute them, Sooliman said Gift of the Givers would not be involved in the vaccine roll-out.

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