The US government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing an additional $3.5-million (R59-million) to support South Africa's Department of Health’s oxygen supply, demand and reticulation strategy, as well as the department's efforts to procure supplies and equipment needed for critical care beds.
The funds will also be used to support emergency preparedness and planning efforts at the provincial level.
Led by the health department, USAID will work closely with South African oxygen manufacturers, like Afrox and Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions South Africa, to increase their production by as much as eight times to meet Covid-19 needs.
As part of its support to the South African health department, USAID is estimating the supplies and equipment required, as well as working with engineers to increase hospitals’ capacity for oxygen support to critical care and general ward beds.
These efforts support Surge Capacity and Case Management Teams to ensure that ventilators and other forms of oxygen therapy work properly, including the previously announced support for high-flow nasal cannula devices (equipment used to treat less severe patients who may not require the use of a ventilator) and the US government's donation of up to 1 000 ventilators.
This will allow the South African government to efficiently meet the critical care needs of patients and prepare hospitals as Covid-19 cases increase, says USAID.
These activities are being funded through the US’s Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act to support the global health response to Covid-19 and will be managed by USAID’s partner, Right to Care.