A large volume of personal protective equipment (PPE) for South Africa’s frontline health workers recently entered the country.
The order arrived on Thursday evening and includes two million surgical masks and 216,000 KN95 respirators. On Monday, a further 784,000 KN95 respirators and 550,000 surgical masks arrived.
The order forms part of a government-led centralised PPE procurement strategy that serves both the public and private healthcare sectors. It is led by the national Department of Health 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 SA business bodies, organisations and companies, reads a statement from B4SA.
To date, close to R1 billion has been spent on procuring PPE for South Africa, which is underpinned by funding from the Solidarity Fund, Motsepe Foundation, FirstRand’s SPIRE Fund and Naspers.
The stock already procured includes:
- N95 masks: 13.5 million;
- Surgical masks for healthcare workers: 11.25 million;
- Surgical masks for patients: 19.5 million;
- Sterile gloves: 900,000;
- Face shields: 20,000;
- Gowns: 100,000;
- Sanitiser (950ml bottles): 345,000, and;
- Ventilators: 200.
B4SA has developed a national PPE demand and supplier dashboard and is driving the procurement, transport and logistics of PPE in support of government’s central procurement strategy.
180 countries competing for PPE stocks
The procurement strategy is underpinned by a 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 per the allocations determined by the national department of health.
The centralisation of the country’s PPE procurement function is critical, as global competition for PPE continues to rise. More than 180 countries are competing for global PPE stocks so, by consolidating its total procurement, South Africa can scale orders, manage price escalations and alleviate pressure on the country’s internal competition for PPE, reads the statement.
In addition to global sourcing, South Africa is also working to scale up and strengthen its local PPE supply and production capability.
“As Business for South Africa, we are deeply humbled to be able to serve our country in its time of need,” Stavros Nicolaou, chairperson of B4SA’s health workgroup said, according to the statement.
“The leadership displayed by our President, and Minister of Health has been exemplary and has galvanised business into action to support our government’s efforts to combat and mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Protecting our frontline doctors, nurses and community health care workers, by ensuring they have access to the PPE required to keep them safe is profoundly important, as they are our only true line of defence against the virus.”
The central procurement strategy is aimed at securing PPE stocks for South Africa for the next six to eight weeks, and monthly thereafter.
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said on Twitter that the Champions of the Environment Foundation, of which he is a board member, had raised R702,000 to buy “thousands and thousands” of masks, sanitiser, gloves and face shields to be distributed to 31 health facilities in the Eastern Cape.