- The first phase of this temporary facility could accommodate 1 485 patients
- VWSA will also assist National Health Laboratory Services to improve its Covid-19 testing capacity
SEVEN weeks after the initial announcement of the company’s plans to provide a temporary medical facility for Covid-19 patients, Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) has handed over the first phase of this project to the Eastern Cape Department of Health.
The first phase can now accommodate 1 485 patients including high-acuity patients who require oxygenation. Once the second and third phases are complete the facility will be able to accommodate more than 3 300 beds for patients.
The conversion of this 66 000m² building is the result of collaboration between VWSA, Eastern Cape Department of Health, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) provided funding of €5.2 million (R100 million). A performance framework for the project was developed by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The Business Chamber assisted in facilitating the project, while the Department of Health will be responsible for running the facility, with support from the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.
Aside from managing the process of equipping the facility, VWSA contributed €1.3 million (R25 million) for the facility, as well as the procurement of protective gear for staff at regional tertiary hospitals, regional Primary Care Clinics and Covid-19 test centres.
€600 000 (R11 million) of this funding will also be used in support of the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) branch in Port Elizabeth, which is responsible for the majority of Covid-19 testing in the metro. The branch is currently facing immense pressure amid challenges that include the shortage of testing kits. The assistance from VWSA will include the sourcing of necessary equipment, and improving the process flow of testing – all with the goal of doubling the current laboratory’s daily average output of 1 500 tests to more than 3 000 tests.