Eastern Cape hospitals have received a boost in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, with R4.7 million worth of oxygen and oxygen-related products from the Minerals Council South Africa.
The products will be targeting facilities in the Chris Hani and OR Tambo districts, the poorest parts of the Eastern Cape and well known as key areas for sourcing mining industry labour.
The council and the provincial health authorities this week provided a joint overview of the Oxygen Relief Initiative in Queenstown, Eastern Cape. The contribution came from Minerals Council members African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, Exxaro, Fraser Alexander, Glencore Alloys, Gold Fields, Harmony, Impala Platinum, Northam Platinum, Royal Bafokeng Platinum, Seriti and Sibanye-Stillwater.
To date, 450 fingerprint pulse oximeters, 900 batteries, 200 oxygen regulators, 30 000 oxygen nasal cannulas and 49 pulse oximeter desktops have been delivered to hospitals located in areas identified for particular support, including the Chris Hani and OR Tambo districts.
Minerals Council head of health Dr Thuthula Balfour said its approach to addressing Covid-19 had been based on collaboration at its operations in communities where it operated and nationally.
“While the Eastern Cape does not have much mining activity, it is a mining-affected province as the industry has historically drawn many thousands of employees from the region,” Balfour said.
Currently, about 15% of its members’ workforce came from the province. Balfour said: “We recognise this is a province with great need requiring infrastructure, healthcare facilities, supplies and personnel.
“For many people who become seriously ill from Covid-19, particularly those who are most vulnerable, oxygen represents life… we believe that we have been able to make a very real and meaningful difference in the province.”