South Africa receives significant PPE order for frontline healthcare workers

The B4SA PPE procurement team received a significant order of 2-million surgical masks, and 216 000 KN95s

The B4SA PPE procurement team received a significant order of 2-million surgical masks, and 216 000 KN95s

Photo by GCIS/Elmond Jiyane

24th April 2020

By: Tasneem Bulbulia

Senior Contributing Editor Online


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South Africa has received a significant order of personal protective equipment (PPE), including two-million surgical masks and 216 000 KN95 respirators. 

This critical stock is intended for the sole use of frontline doctors, nurses and community healthcare workers, to protect them in their fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The order, which arrived on Thursday night, will be bolstered by a further 784 000 KN95 respirators and 550 000 surgical masks which will arrive in the country on April 26.

The order forms part of a government-led centralised PPE procurement strategy that serves both the public and private healthcare sectors.

The procurement strategy is led by Department of Health (DoH) and the National Treasury’s Office of the Chief Procurement Officer, working in partnership with Business for South Africa (B4SA), which is an alliance of volunteer resources from across South African business bodies, organisations and companies.

In support of government’s central procurement strategy, B4SA has developed a national PPE demand and supplier dashboard, and is driving the procurement, transport and logistics of PPE supply. 

The procurement strategy is underpinned by a robust governance process that qualifies and vets both suppliers and their products against approved quality guidelines.

All stocks that are landing in South Africa, or being collected from local suppliers and donors, are being delivered to the provinces in accordance with the allocations determined by the DoH.

The centralisation of the country’s PPE procurement function is noted as critical as global competition for PPE continues to rise. Over 180 countries are competing for global PPE stocks, therefore by consolidating its total procurement, South Africa is able to scale orders, manage price escalations and alleviate pressure on the country’s internal competition for PPE. 

In addition to global sourcing, South Africa is also working to capacitate, scale up and strengthen its local PPE supply and production capability.

To date, close to R1-billion has been spent on procuring PPE for South Africa, which is underpinned by funding from the Solidarity Fund, the Motsepe Foundation, FirstRand’s SPIRE Fund and Naspers.

Stock already procured includes 13.5-million N95 masks; 11.25-million surgical masks for healthcare workers; 19.5-million surgical masks for patients; 900 000 sterile gloves; 20 000 face shields; 100 000 gowns; 345 000 bottles of sanitiser; and 200 ventilators.

The central procurement strategy is aimed at securing PPE stocks for South Africa for the next six to eight weeks, and monthly thereafter.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online




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