It is all hands on deck as the Nelson Mandela Bay business community sets out to assist the city’s public health services.
In support of the doctors, nurses and healthcare workers who are serving at the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis, the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber established the Ubuntu COVID-19 initiative.
Through this collaborative approach businesses in Nelson Mandela Bay have been proactively mobilising their resources to support emergency response readiness activities.
According to Dr Andrew Muir, President of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, the business community has placed high priority on supporting efforts which directly contribute towards the planning and readiness of the city if COVID-19 infections reach higher levels.
“We called upon Business Chamber members and the broader business community to support our Ubuntu COVID-19 Fund so that together we can avert a potential humanitarian crisis,” said Muir.
Isuzu Motors South Africa (IMSAf), a member of the Business Chamber, volunteered to undertake the task of renovating the Livingstone and Provincial Hospitals to increase capacity to accommodate COVID-19 patients who require screening, testing and hospitalisation.
Spearheaded by Angus Clark, IMSAf Maintenance Manager, the team had only eight days in which to complete the renovations due to the need to ensure that the hospitals were ready to receive COVID-19 patients.
Isuzu’s maintenance team, including their contractors, worked around the clock to deliver refurbished medical facilities at the Port Elizabeth Provincial and Livingstone Hospitals.
“The rooms required cleaning, painting, fixing of electrical fittings, converting rooms into ablution and shower facilities, additional internal and external plumbing to four floors, replacing toilets and repairing broken beds and trolleys,” Clark explained.
The renovations done at Livingstone Hospital will ensure increased capacity of an additional 135 beds for COVID-19 patients as well as additional cleaning facilities, extra gas points and more ablution facilities.
An additional isolation facility was created next to each ward allowing medical staff to change and sanitise before entering the ward.
Furthermore, oxygen and vacuum equipment were serviced and additional points were added to increase the provision of oxygen to the extra beds as well as the existing beds
“We also replaced over a hundred broken windows and hung screens and curtains in the wards,” said Clark.
While Livingstone Hospital is the dedicated COVID-19 medical institution for hospitalisation, the old decommissioned casualty building at the Provincial Hospital was refurbished to accommodate 25 beds to serve as a transfer location for COVID-19 patients.
In addition, marquee tents were erected at Dora Nginza Hospital, Livingstone Hospital and Laetitia Bam Clinic in Kwanobuhle near Uitenhage to serve as temporary testing facilities.
The tents, which were secured through the Business Chamber’s Ubuntu Covid-19 crisis team, are fully fitted with lighting and electricity as well as tables and chairs.
Various businesses came through with donations such as wifi for the medical staff, soap dispensers and curtains for the newly operational wards.
Denise van Huyssteen, IMSAf Corporate Affairs, Business Strategy and Legal Executive, and leader of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber Task Teams, said Isuzu’s efforts form part of a larger COVID-19 response strategy.
“During this time of crisis, we strongly believe that it is important that together with our partners and stakeholders we all rally together to do what’s in the best interests of the city and its people as a whole,” said Van Huyssteen.
The refurbishment of hospitals is one of a number of initiatives which the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber is spearheading to support the healthcare fraternity in responding to the crisis.