With the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks and face shields, amongst others, doctors, nurses, and other frontline workers have been left vulnerable to Covid-19 infection. To change the situation, Cipla Foundation (CF), Miltons Matsemela Attorneys (MMA), Operation Smile (OS), and 54asONE, have partnered to raise awareness on the importance of PPE and to supply healthcare workers across Africa with much-needed face masks. The awareness was raised because it was observed that PPE is crucial for healthcare workers in the fight against Covid-19 and the use of the PPE will protect not only frontline staff from possible infection but also patients from being infected in cases where healthcare workers unknowingly have the virus.
MMA has worked with CF for the past five years to raise funds for OS through the Miles for Smiles (MS) fundraiser. MS facilitates corrective surgery for children born with a cleft lip and palate. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic, the surgeons have postponed the surgeries in order to protect the children from possible Covid-19 infection. OS shifted their focus to the newly created Miles for Masks (MM) initiative, a 5km virtual race where participants ran, walked, or cycled at their own pace from any location they choose.
In order to reshape the healthcare system in Africa, 54asONE provided corporates who entered the race with a 1.5m x 0.9m flag to proudly hang in their offices.
A trustee of CF, David Grier, remarked that the NGOs and companies involved in the project all have a common goal in helping Africa’s frontline workers. ‘We all agree that at this very moment in time, it’s the frontline staff who need to be protected because they protect us’, he said.
Grier added that the awareness is to supply as many masks as possible. ‘All the masks donated and purchased through the fundraising effort will then be handed to [OS] who will, through their network, distribute to the neediest of the frontline staff’.
Source: Daily Maverick
Photo source: Marco Verch