Non-Profit Organisations and Humanitarians have rallied together to build triage and outpatient medical centres next to hospitals to help with overflow… with a commitment that “no patient will be turned away due to lack of funds”.
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (11 January 2021) – The COVID Day Care Facility set up at Ahmed Al Kadi Hospital in Durban, erected over this past weekend, has proven to be a success, filling the gap for those patients requiring care but not overnight hospitalisation.
Patients can access the care and treatment required in a hospital setting with the relevant specialist onsite and available, to properly assess and manage them. This allows for beds to free up in the main hospital facility for those patients who require urgent hospitalisation.
The Covid Day Care Facility, which was a first of its kind facility in the country, was set up as a matter of urgency, by several NGOs and humanitarians led by Muslims for Humanity (MfH) and including Natal Memon Jamaat (NMJ), Islamic Medical Association (IMA), Caring Sisters Network (CSN), Al Imdaad Foundation, Darul Ihsan Humanitarian Centre and Jamiatul Ulema KZN.
Whilst initially a 20-bed facility, the capacity has since its opening over the past weekend increased to a 36-bed facility.
“It is a triage centre as well as a facility offering day outpatient support and services to COVID patients by ensuring proper assessment and outpatient management in a bid to prevent hospitalization. Examples of such services include IV therapy and oxygen therapy. We will try to prevent the serious onset of symptoms with a routine outpatient visitation schedule including radiology and pathology studies, for patients to be properly managed in a hospital setting to prevent the serious onset of COVID symptoms”, commented Ebrahim Asmal the Hospital General Manager at Ahmed Al Kadi Hospital. In addition, it is important to note that this is a joint CSI project partnership with several NGOs and humanitarians, with a commitment that “no patient will be turned away due to lack of funds” Asmal, further stated.
This facility was set up in a short space of time to support the hospital during this second wave of this national disaster. Due to demand for similar facilities, the group of NGO’s and humanitarians have since set up similar facilities at Midlands Medical Centre in Pietermaritzburg, Daymed Hospital in Pietermaritzburg, Hibiscus Hospital in Port Shepstone and Hibiscus Cato Ridge Hospital.
“These 4 additional facilities will be fully operational between today (Monday, 11 January 2020) and tomorrow (Tuesday, 12 January 2020). This will bring the total number of facilities set up to five,” commented Imraan Jooma the Project Coordinator and NMJ representative in this joint relief initiative.
Jooma further commented that since the opening of the first facility at Ahmed Al Kadi Hospital, there have since been requests from all over the country to set up similar facilities due to the unfortunate rising need. At this moment, the group is assessing how quickly it can set up the other facilities and whilst there is no shortage of funding and equipment to set up these facilities, the biggest challenge is finding the necessary skills and resources to man these facilities.
These sentiments were further echoed, by Dr Yakub Essack, National President of the IMA who stated that frontline workers especially doctors, nurses and paramedics were physically and emotionally drained with their efforts over the past few weeks.
Commented Essack, “The second wave is putting a strain on the medical staff, many of whom are also being inflicted with the Covid virus and unfortunately some of them are succumbing to this pandemic. This is, of course, not only reducing the availability of human resources at medical facilities but also posing an emotional drain on frontline workers. However, we are constantly adapting and quickly finding solutions to assist in setting up these facilities”.
MfH further stated that in times of need and crisis, it was heartfelt to see volunteers, donors and humanitarians contributing whatever skills and resources they had available at such short notice. The skills that each of these NGOs bring to this initiative are complementary to one another, and it was due to the cooperation and willingness of these NGOs to work together as well as the support of the various hospitals and their management that these facilities were set up within hours from planning. We are working in equal partnership with all the NGOs as well with the private hospitals in a public/private partnership.
Our humanitarian groups jointly sets up each facility, with each of us contributing whatever resources we have and thereafter the private hospitals manages and runs the facility. Once operational, our group continues to provide support services include counselling and other assistance required to each hospital, its team members and especially the patients. Currently, discussions are underway with provincial health authorities to extend such facilities to the state hospitals that are also in need of similar assistance.
In the interim, and as part of the ongoing relief efforts of the group, R500,000 worth of oxygenators was donated through the group to Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Phoenix and Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital in Umlazi. Both these facilities are operated by the Kwa-Zulu department of health. Funding for these oxygenators was raised through an initiative led by a group of Durban humanitarians to assist in procuring urgently needed medical equipment for medical facilities throughout the country.
Due to national demand for such similar facilities, other NGOs, humanitarians as well as hospitals were invited to a Zoom Meeting held on Friday 8 January 2020. The purpose of this meeting was to enlighten interested parties on setting up such similar facilities in the rest of the country and how this public/private partnership and initiative has worked thus far. For further details or if you have interest, please contact Imraan Jooma, the Project Coordinator of the Covid Day Care Facility at firstname.lastname@example.org.