Business grouping Business for South Africa, through its Public Health Work Group, is calling on all companies that are not operating and in lockdown to urgently divert their stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE) for use in the national healthcare sector.
The organisation – which comprises Business Unity South Africa, Business Leadership South Africa, Business and Arts South Africa and Black Business Council – says the PPE is critical to protecting frontline doctors and healthcare workers, keeping them healthy while they fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
The PPE needed by the healthcare sector includes masks (N95 grade), surgical masks, latex-free gloves, plastic aprons, visors and goggles, gowns and suits, and overshoes.
“As we head deeper into the Covid-19 crisis, we are going to need all the PPE we can source to ensure the healthcare sector has a ready and ongoing supply. We appeal to all South African businesses, whether large or small, to unlock their stocks in the national interest.
“Critical to turning the tide against the Covid-19 pandemic is ensuring that our frontline doctors and healthcare workers are protected from the virus, to ensure South Africa’s most effective response. This effort will go a long way in keeping them productive in the clinical setting,” Public Health Work Group leader Stavros Nicolaou urges.
Since January, stocks of PPE have been severely impacted on by a global need for products to address the pandemic. This has been exacerbated by export restrictions, disruptions of logistics systems and escalating costs.
The Business for South Africa Public Health Work Group is working closely with government to consolidate all national health requirements in respect of PPE.
Besides this urgent call to companies, the work group is also driving efforts to boost local manufacturing and production where possible, and also expanding sourcing from global suppliers.
“Securing stocks from companies that already have these available, especially those that are not currently using them, will provide much needed immediate assistance.
Throughout South Africa, there are store rooms of PPE that could be used as part of the emergency response. This includes stocks that are held by companies in the manufacturing, forestry and agriculture, construction, mills, spray painting, mining and sign writing industries, besides others,” Nicolaou says.
Companies are urged to send details about the PPE stock they have available, including the location, brand and quantity, as well as if it is sterile or needs to be sterilised to firstname.lastname@example.org.