Motoring group VWSA is helping healthcare facilities across Nelson Mandela Bay fight the Covid-19 pandemic by providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to the provincial health department for distribution to frontline staff.
PPE handed over to the department earlier in August included 50,000 N95 face masks, 65,000 disposable gowns, two million latex and nitrile gloves, and 1,000 visors.
The PPE is destined for staff at the Bay’s three main Covid-19 hospitals – Dora Nginza, Livingstone and Uitenhage Provincial Hospital, as well as other regional primary care clinics and Covid-19 test centres.
VW also donated more than 200 digital infrared thermometers and other critical equipment for the assessment and treatment of coronavirus patients.
The company procured the PPE as part of its greater project to convert its former Port Elizabeth plant into the Rev Dr Elizabeth Mamisa Chabula-Nxiweni Field Hospital, the first phase of this hospital for Covid-19 patients having been handed over to the department in June.
Funding for both the hospital and the PPE came from Germany’s federal ministry for economic co-operation and development (BMZ) which committed R100m to the project, with R10m of that used for PPE.
“It is our wish that this PPE will bring relief and hope to our healthcare workers who have been toiling under difficult circumstances to treat the Covid-19 patients,” VWSA chairman and MD Thomas Schaefer says.
VW also supported the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) branch in Port Elizabeth using R4m of the BMZ funding.
This lab does most of the metro’s Covid-19 testing and is capable of conducting up to 1,500 tests a day. VW paid for extensive renovations to turn an open office space at the branch into a fully-fledged molecular virology lab in just 18 days, potentially doubling the existing daily testing capacity.
“We need to be able to trace the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic to fight it – the faster we act, the better we can keep it from spreading further,” Schaefer says.
“That is why it is absolutely crucial for the NHLS to have the capability to analyse tests and deliver results quickly.”
Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane says the provincial government is grateful to VWSA for its continuous contribution to the fight against Covid-19.