The life-saving gift of ventilators, valued at R1.2-million has been given to the Department of Health by Impala Platinum Rustenburg.
The machines were handed over to Professor John Tumbo and director Maggie Mere of the North West Department of Health by chief executive of Impala Rustenburg, Mark Munroe and will be placed in the Department of Health’s Job Shimankana Tabane and Moses Kotane Hospitals.
The second wave of Covid-19 has placed significant pressure on South Africa’s and Bojanala’s healthcare services and facilities, which have seen double the number of cases as the first wave. Impala successfully managed to flatten their curve in the first wave. In the second wave, while the rest of the country saw their numbers doubling, Impala’s cases were half of that of the first wave.
This was as a result of the good controls set in place upfront as well as the extensive educational and awareness campaigns that continued over the festive season and into the new year. According to Dr Andrews, Impala’s HSE executive, Impala was fortunate to have good facilities and sufficient beds, ventilators and oxygen to cope with the patients. “However in the second wave, we saw patients who became far sicker than in the first wave, which placed enormous pressure on the public sector hospitals and facilities. We have therefore decided to donate this essential equipment to Professor Tumbo and his team to help save lives in the broader community,” says Andrews.
The addition of the ventilators, which are valued at R300 000 each, will provide critical capacity for Covid cases in the two hospitals. They also have the added benefit of being easily portable and being able to connect to either fixed or portable oxygen supply, giving the Department of Health the flexibility to move them to where they are most needed at short notice.
Along with the ventilators, Impala also handed over 1 000 rapid Covid-19 antigen tests, at a value of R170 000. These tests provide accurate results in patients displaying Covid symptoms within 15 minutes. This will greatly assist the Department in the rapid diagnosis and admission of patients while waiting for confirmation results from laboratory PCR (Polymer Chain Reaction) tests, potentially saving many more lives of people and reducing the risk of infection to health care workers.
Professor Tumbo says, “This is not the first time we’ve received assistance from Impala at a time when we are struggling. This second wave was unusual, because it is a variant that affects people more rapidly and more severely. We are seeing patients deteriorate rapidly and being portable, these ventilators will enable us to look at the dynamics of where the pressure points are and move them to where they are needed. We truly appreciate this gesture.”
Mark Munroe, chief executive of Impala Rustenburg concludes: “We are concerned, not only about Covid, but about the impact that poverty and compromised nutrition will have on the general health of the community. Even though we are reaching the end of the second wave there will be health issues related to socio-economic conditions, which will probably be followed by the third wave. The donation of these ventilators, along with other life-saving equipment like first aid kits donated to local schools and oxygen donated to the Rustenburg field hospital last year, is our response to the need to work together and to react proactively to the changes in the virus. We are ready and willing to step up and step in to help where we can, especially in the coming weeks when the vaccine will need to be safely distributed under strictly controlled conditions. We are part of this community and we care about the wellbeing of its people.”