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Gift of the Givers pledges R5m support amid Covid-19 crisis

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Gift of the Givers (GOTG) has pledged its assistance to aid the fight against the novel coronavirus in South Africa. The humanitarian organisation’s founder, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said R5 million had been put aside from emergency funds should the need arise.

Sooliman announced GOTG would also avail its emergency medical equipment and ambulances to support public health services, if required.

“Our focus is going to be when the crucial time comes, when patients come with severe pulmonary infections and pulmonary complications that’s the phase in which we want to get involved in,” said Sooliman.

However, Sooliman stated that officials within the health department have already reached out and said they are running low on basic equipment.

“Although we started off earmarking the funds for the critical stage, it looks like we’re going to start purchasing other things much earlier,” said Sooliman.

President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of disaster on Sunday after the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country rose to 62.

“We want to be ready now, not when it happens,” said Sooliman.

The president implemented bans and restrictions regarding schools, universities, prisons, visas, travel and group gatherings.

“That’s the aim to target towards the equipment of the protective clothing, and the ventilators,” said Sooliman.

Dr Sooliman said the problem will exacerbate if Co-vid 19 hits the streets of poverty-stricken areas where the luxury of self-isolation does not exist.

“It’s fine if it’s limited to rich people coming from over seas who are able to self-quarantine but once their employee contracts it and gets into taxi then suddenly you have a taxi full of people from fifty different areas who will go back into their communities where people have either TB, HIV, cancer, diabetes, where there is no water and no proper sanitation that’s when we will be looking at a nightmare,” said Sooliman.

Sooliman said GOTG has formed a partnership with BackaBuddy to start a crowdfunding initiative to “intervene at more facilities should the volume of critically ill patients increase”.

 “Although the first case was only picked up about two and half weeks ago this disease has been running since November, and then all the focus was on China but in the mean time people all over Europe were getting sick and since then how many South Africans have not traveled to Europe,” asked Sooliman.

“The BackaBuddy is a crowdfunding platform and they were keen to start a fundraising campaign, where the funds will then come to us, in addition to our R5m that we have set up in reserves” stated Sooliman.

Cash contributions can be made to BackaBuddy or to the Gift of the Givers, Standard Bank, Pietermaritzburg, account number 052137228, reference Covid-19.


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