R3m project completed in one month

Gift of the Givers gives Bisho doctors a home from home

South African NGO Gift of the Givers worked through Christmas and New Year to set up a new doctor's accommodation facility at Bisho Hospital.

They have turned a rundown storage unit into a modern living space, completing the R3m project in only a month to offer healthcare workers a welcoming and comfortable home from home as they work to save lives during the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The hospital had been losing out on interns, community service doctors and senior medical personnel in the absence of suitable accommodation on site.

The project follows a specialised 120-bed Covid facility the NGO set up at the hospital last year.

“Gift of the Givers set up a dedicated Covid-19 facility at the hospital, providing beds, mattresses, pillows, linen, high-flow nasal oxygen machines, CPAP machines, scrubs, non-contact thermometers, pulse oximeters and general PPEs. The extra bed capacity required the deployment of additional staff,” the organisation's  Ali Sablay said.

The team came straight from renovations at Settlers Hospital in Makhanda, where a 20-bed Covid-19 high-care facility was completed in five days at a cost of R750,000.

The organisation thanked Bisho Hospital CEO Sister Phumla Mnyanda and the provincial health department  for their co-operation during the upgrade.

The official opening of the newly renovated doctor's accommodation takes place today. Medical staff who have been living in guest houses in Bhisho since the start of the year will move during the week.

An additional building is being considered for refurbishment to increase staff capacity as the second wave of Covid-19 continues to infect people and claim lives.

As more cases are reported each day, the health department has requested CPAP  (continuous positive airway pressure therapy) machines for many more hospitals in the province as it commissions an oxygen upgrade to several of its facilities. Both an adequate supply of oxygen and oxygen delivery machines are crucial to saving lives during the second wave.

Gift of the Givers has already delivered 2,000 CPAP  machines, valued at R25m, to six provinces around the country, and requests for the next thousand are pouring in, the NGO said.

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