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Mabuyane talks third wave fears at opening of Eastern Cape Covid-19 treatment facility

Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane unveiled an R80m Covid-19 unit in Mdantsane to counter third wave of the virus.


Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane unveiled an R80m Covid-19 unit in Mdantsane to counter third wave of the virus.

  • Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane says the province is in the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. 
  • The province has unveiled an R80m state-of-the-art 100 bed modular unit sponsored by Siemens to treat Covid-19 patients.
  • When the pandemic is over, the unit, will be able to provide maternity care and treat chronically ill patients. 

While projections had shown that the third wave would hit the Eastern Cape in July, the Eastern Cape is already in it, Premier Oscar Mabuyane said on Friday.

“It’s no longer a story. As we can see in our province, our [24-hour infection] numbers were low. But looking now, they have grown by 100%,” he said at the unveiling of an R80 million state-of-the-art 100 bed facility for Covid-19 treatment.

The modular unit, built in less than five months at Cecilia Makhiwane Hospital in Mdantsane, is a donation from Siemens South Africa. 

The unit has 90 general ward beds and 10 intensive care unit beds complete with advanced technology.  

Covid-19 unit unveiled in Mdantsane

Cecilia Makhiwane Hospital ICU assistant director Nezabo Mokheti gives a tour of the unit to Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane and health MEC Nomakhosazana Meth.

The Eastern Cape Health Department said it is currently recruiting four medical doctors and other health personnel to work in the unit.

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Mabuyane said the province is already in the midst of the third wave, expressing his concern.

“We are trying to avoid shutting down the economy and enforcing bans on sales of certain products,” Mabuyane said. 

The province has the second highest number of fatalities in the country behind the Western Cape with 11 614, but has the lowest number of active cases at 332.   

Oscar Mabuyane

Mabuyane said the unit will add impetus to Covid-19 response.

He said when Covid-19 hit the country, his government prioritised budgets within government and invested R590 million in the refurbishment of 67 health facilities to create new bed capacity for Covid-19 patients.  

Capacity

He said through the Siemens investment, the province now has new high care units in health facilities that did not have such capacity before. 

Project partners of Siemens include the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, which pumped in R63 million. 

Siemens Caring Hands, a charity arm of the cellphone giant, poured in R9 million into the project, raised by employees.

Aspen Pharmaceuticals has provided an additional R4 million.

oscar mabuyane

Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane, health MEC Nomakhosazana Meth and Siemens SA CEO Sabina Dall’Omo being assisted to cut the red ribbon during the handover event.

The donations were managed by the South African Solidarity Fund.   

Mabuyane said the unit will add impetus to its Covid-19 response. He said the hospital was perfectly located in Mdantsane, an area with the largest population in Buffalo City Metro at 140 000.

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With 2 300 Covid-19 deaths in the metro, Mabuyane said he hoped the unit would bolster the fight against the pandemic.

The donations come as the province is registering residents for vaccination, planning to give 770 000 elderly people their first dose before July.

When the pandemic is over, the unit, will be able to provide maternity care and treat chronically ill patients, said president and CEO of Siemens AG Roland Busch in a recorded video message at the launch.

Aspen further provided the project with medicine and protective equipment. 


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