Covid-19: Solidarity Fund will buy R405m worth of medical equipment for hard-hit provinces

  • A purchase of R405 million has been approved by the Solidarity Fund to buy vital medical equipment for Gauteng, Western Cape and Eastern Cape.
  • The money will go to beds, ventilators, oxygen devices and to capacitate wards and ICUs.
  • So far, the fund has spent more than R2 billion on Covid-19 efforts. 

The Solidarity Fund is set to purchase critical medical equipment worth R405 million - including hospital beds, ventilators and high-flow oxygen devices - for Gauteng, the Western Cape and Eastern Cape.

In a statement on Friday, Solidarity Fund interim CEO Nomkhita Nqweni said the fund would purchase medical equipment for Gauteng hospitals - including the Nasrec field hospital - beds and ventilators for the Western Cape, and ward capacity and oxygen devices in the Eastern Cape.

She said the fund had approved the purchase for the public sector and would be working with the Department of Health and provincial officials.

"As the Covid-19 pandemic intensifies across South Africa and the country braces for an expected surge in hospital admissions, the Solidarity Fund has responded by approving an additional R405m towards the purchase of critical healthcare equipment for the public hospital system in the hotspots of Gauteng, Western Cape and the Eastern Cape."

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Nqweni explained that the national health response to Covid-19 was being coordinated according to demand for health services, based on modelling of the Covid-19 impact in each province.

"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," she said.

Current demand is for 100 00 general ward beds and more than 26 000 critical care beds at the peak of Covid-19 infections.

Where will the money go?

In Gauteng, the Solidarity Fund approved R209 million for critical medical equipment to be used at the Nasrec field hospital and other hospitals in the province.

"Given the projected peak of the pandemic and the high population density in the province, the funds will be used to purchase high care equipment in existing hospitals and to equip the field hospital at Nasrec," Nqweni said.

For the Western Cape, R102 million has been approved for beds and ICU ventilators.

In the Eastern Cape, R76 million will increase insufficient ward and ICU capacity, as well as address the urgent need for oxygen devices.

"The funds will be used to purchase essential equipment, such as high-flow oxygen devices which are more cost effective than invasive ventilators. They have been used successfully in the province so far," Nqweni said.

In addition to this, R250 million will go towards the local production of 20 000 non-invasive ventilators to support the National Ventilator Project.

"The locally-manufactured ventilators are expected to be delivered at the end of August in line with the predicted infection peak."

Solidarity Fund

Nqweni explained that since its establishment, more than R2 billion from the Solidarity Fund has funded initiatives to prevent and support those affected by the pandemic.

"So far, the Fund has approved R1.929 billion towards health interventions, R137 million towards humanitarian relief efforts and R31 million towards education and awareness programmes," she said.

"As at 9 July 2020, the Fund has received R3.02 billion 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."

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Nqweni said the fund’s contribution to the pandemic could save lives.

"We are facing perhaps one of the most critical phases since the outbreak of Covid-19 and the Solidarity 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."

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