South Africa: MSF, Others Launch Covid-19 Facility

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Doctors without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in partnership with the South African Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, officials from the Western Cape Government, Khayelitsha District Hospital (KDH), and the City of Cape Town has launched a temporary, 60-bed Covid-19 treatment facility, to meet the needs of the local community during the pandemic.

The facility which was named the Khayelitsha Field Hospital (KFH) was established in a City of Cape Town-owned community sports centre, and functions as an extension of the adjacent KDH, essentially expanding its capacity to treat moderate to severe Covid-19 cases. MSF opened the facility on 01 June with a full complement of medical staff.

The project leader of MSF, Dr Eric Goemaere, stated, ‘It is a reality that if the epidemic peaks as predicted, a certain number of people will fall ill and need treatment. Increasing healthcare capacity in an attempt to meet that increased demand is the best way to be prepared to try to save lives. Acknowledging that sadly some will be lost and we can’t save everyone, we still see this field hospital as a real plus for people in need in Khayelitsha’.

A member of the KDH team, Dr Trevor Mnguni, noted, ‘This partnership with MSF has been essential for us at [KDH], given the bed pressure brought about by [Covid-19]. Having this field hospital right across the road from us makes it easier, and helps to allay fears in the community’.

The Health Promotion Manager with MSF, Nompumelelo Zokufa, added, ‘We are doing this first to help the Department of Health to cope with a major humanitarian emergency due to the pandemic but also to bring treatment closer to home for those affected in the community of Khayelitsha. Support from the community is essential for this to succeed’.

The facility is one of several Department of Health intermediate care bed facilities and will operate during the time of the projected peak of transmission in the Cape Metropolitan area. Managed by MSF medical staff, KFH offers inpatient care, access to all essential drugs to manage co-morbidities and oxygen supply to support patients with breathing difficulties. It is not an intensive care facility, and sicker patients will be referred for intensive care units within the city as needed.

MSF recently launched the South Africa Covid-19 Crisis Fund (SACCF) and has seen increasing support, reaching nearly 25 percent of the required R40 million target. However, they call for support from corporations and generous donors so that they will reach their target in order to protect the health of communities and bring medical care to South Africa’s most vulnerable.

Source: Africa Newsroom

Photo source: UNMEER

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Jokpa Mudia is an enthusiastic and self-motivated writer for Development Diaries. She holds a B.A. in English and Literary Studies from Delta State University, Abraka, Delta State, and an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Ibadan, Oyo State. Her interests are creative writing, research and advocacy reviews. She loves travelling and meeting people as these help her in learning more about people, places and cultures.

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