A R5 million building renovation project by Gift of the Givers at the Mitchells Plain District Hospital started at the weekend and would be completed within a month. Founder of the Gift of the Givers, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said increasing capacity within a given hospital is more practical than setting up new remote facilities at non-hospital venues, given the acute staff and essential equipment shortage. Mitchells Plain Hospital has an entire wing that can be converted into a dedicated Covid-19 oxygen facility if funds were available to renovate, and can be further supported with beds, oxygen machines, and other necessary equipment.
“The reality boils down to this that eventually we are going to be faced with a crisis and that is going to require beds. We need to be working at a pace that is lifesaving,” said Sooliman.
Sooliman said the decision to partner with GOTG received the go-ahead in just five days by the relevant health authorities.
“I have never seen this kind of speed, within four days we had five signatures from all the key health department individuals and within 48 hours my building team was already on site,” stated Sooliman.
Sooliman urged the public not to act in a haughty fashion when it comes to the disease.
“We see that certain people are still taking this pandemic lightly. People need to stop looking for excuses to practice coronavirus safety protocols. It doesn’t matter that you are in your prime and don’t have any comorbidities. It gravely affects any and everyone. We see that many people that don’t have a single comorbidity are dying,” said Sooliman.
Furthermore, GOTG’s Covid-19 response has so far seen protective materials delivered to 160 health facilities, the establishment of 36 triage tents at various hospitals, and thousands of Covid-19 tests carried out via its testing facilities at hospitals, drive-thrus, and site visits to companies and sporting clubs, through mobile testing teams.
“Many people have beds but no oxygen and right now a lot of peoples life lines are oxygen,” said Sooliman.
Sooliman reiterated the importance of providing oxygen to patients.
“I’m sorry for sounding crude but if you go to the ventilator stage, it’s basically a death sentence,” said Sooliman
Amid a plethora of complaints by health workers at state hospitals and clinics over the shortage of personal protective equipment, Sooliman questioned where the PPE is that the government has promised in the mainstream media.
“We have been to 160 health facilities and not once has any of them said they have received equipment from the state,” stated Sooliman.
With the hospital crisis happening in Eastern Cape, Sooliman advised that if front line workers were valued this would not have happened.