At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gift of the Givers introduced medical intervention in a controlled manner, with the initial focus on health-care professionals at state institutions. Although initially, there was huge difficulty accessing a supply of masks due to excessive costs and shortages, our organisation managed to source masks and identified hospitals nationally that were in need. The Gift of the Givers team remain committed to providing masks, coveralls, hazmat suits, re-usable and disposable surgical gowns, scrub suits, latex gloves, head covers, shoe covers, goggles, visors and thermal scans, as well enhancing the medical capacity of state institutions with the distribution of portable ultrasound machines, pulse oximeters, laryngoscopes and medicines for general use to support facilities. To date, our team has assisted some 210 hospitals and clinics nationwide, with many more to follow. In addition, we distributed 2 500 CPAP machines and High Flow Nasal Oxygen Machines to healthcare facilities in great need. We carried out hospital upgrades up to the value of R15 million, as well as the establishment of 10 COVID-19 testing sites and 3 mobile teams. We also installed 37 triage tents in frontline hospitals at a monthly cost of R3 million and distributed 10 000 sets of scrubs to medical facilities.
With an aim to fight the spread of COVID-19, Gift of the Givers has in place a number of water projects which remain ongoing to give millions of South Africans access to running water. Having a water supply is not only vital for living, but is regarded as a pandemic safe-guard in the quest to prevent the spread by washing one’s hands. Due to severe water shortages and challenges in obtaining a regular and reliable supply of water, Gift of the Givers has included in its water projects, the distribution of bottled water; delivery of clean water for drinking and hygiene via our three water tankers; and the drilling and equipping of boreholes. Our water tankers deliver 600 000 litres of water per week in the Eastern Cape. In addition, we have drilled 420 fully-functional boreholes in the past two years, providing clean drinking water daily to a number of identified hospitals and many thousands of people
Providing food and access to basic supply necessities was an area of major concern during the country’s hard lockdown. The assumption was that there would be a breakdown of primary services regarding the delivery of food and basic necessities to vulnerable communities throughout the country, most particularly those residing in rural areas. Gift of the Givers implemented a disaster mitigation plan, which included ensuring disaster preparedness, inclusive of the stockpiling of foodstuffs, medical supplies and sanitary packs for the lockdown period and beyond; arranging with our key suppliers to hold, on demand, essential commodities to ensure immediate availability; monitoring institutions, such as homes for the disabled, orphanages, frail care centres and the like on a regular basis; continuing our feeding scheme at hospitals and other institutions which depend on our services; and increasing co-operation between various stakeholders, from Government and community representatives, to enhance our capacity to deliver emergency and essential services as and when required. Gift of the Givers provided rations to more than 100 feeding centres and has delivered 320 000 food parcels to hungry families across South Africa. In addition, the organisation has played a critical role in ensuring the delivery of fodder, valued at millions of Rand, in order to save the lives of animals and, as a consequence, the livelihoods of needy farmers and their workforces. We envisage a much greater intervention in these areas into the future.