South Africa’s fight against COVID-19 has been supported through generous donations of personal protective equipment, medical equipment and funding from the United States government, Old Mutual, AstraZeneca and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
The Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize yesterday met with representatives from each of these institutions, accepting the handover of millions of PPE units to assist healthcare workers on the frontline of the battle against COVID-19.
“I want to express my gratitude for the continued partnership between the government of South Africa and the government of the United States of America through various programmes that we work with together,” Mkhize said.
“We remain confident that whilst we fight COVID-19, it is important for us not to neglect the fight against other diseases such as HIV and TB,” he said.
The US donated 1000 ventilators, 50 of which have arrived on South African shores and are awaiting installation.
“In our discussion with the elders of the church, it is very clear they have taken our fight against COVID-19 as a fight they have to be part of. It is true that the church has a role to play in our society, this cannot be ignored. As government, we acknowledge the role of religious leaders in society,” Mkhize added.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints donated PPE worth more than one million US dollars.
Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca also donated 60,000 surgical masks and 10,000 blood pressure monitors.
“We will deploy these 10,000 blood pressure monitors to community health workers. It’s a very important programme for us because we are actually going to move blood pressure monitoring into the communities. By so doing, we want to deal with a major rising threat of silent killers of non-communicable disease like high blood pressure and diabetes. It’s a very significant intervention which will improve our primary healthcare services as well,” said the minister.
Old Mutual increased its previous donation, adding almost one million surgical masks and gloves to their initial pledge.
“No health worker must be exposed to work without the provision of the appropriate PPE. They must also be properly trained so they are confident as they approach the treatment of people with COVID-19,” Mkhize concluded.