South Africans join hands to assist West Africa with Ebola outbreak

Netcare to provide knowledge, expertise and much needed equipment

Monday, September 22 2014

South African private healthcare group, Netcare, has joined hands with the Department of Health (DoH), the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), other listed corporates and NGOs in offering assistance to West-African countries impacted by the Ebola pandemic.

This comes a day after the UN Security Council declared the Ebola outbreak in Africa a "threat to international peace and security", calling on all member states to provide urgent resources and assistance to help tackle the crisis.

At a meeting held at The Johannesburg Stock Exchange, convened by the DoH, Dr Richard Friedland, chief executive officer of Netcare Limited, pledged Netcare's support for the DoH-led initiative which aims to mobilise funding and resources for a 40-bed tented hospital to be established and operated by South Africans in Sierra Leone.

Pic: Netcare CEO, Richard Friedland, Director of Business Development and Corporate Affairs, Tumi Nkosi, and Netcare 911 personnel, in front of the four ambulances donated by Netcare which will be deployed in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as part of the Department of Health's Ebola Response Fund.

"The Ebola pandemic is a humanitarian crisis of tragic proportions, not only affecting the populations and healthcare workers in Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Senegal but extending far beyond these countries' borders. We commend the South African DoH for its efforts to help in combating this scourge. Netcare is pleased to heed the DoH's call for support and resources. By combining the unique contributions of government, corporate SA and NGOs, we can help to ease the terrible human suffering of fellow Africans resulting from this pandemic," said Dr Friedland.

"Netcare will be donating four ambulances which will be deployed in West Africa as part of the DoH's aid offering. We will also contribute to the planning and execution of this important initiative by sharing our knowledge and expertise," he explained.

Dr Friedland added that Netcare has, from the outset of the outbreak in West Africa, taken a leading role in the thorough risk assessment and triage of any suspected cases referred for admission to Netcare facilities.

"Even though there is currently no Ebola outbreak in South Africa, and no confirmed Ebola case at any South African hospital, Netcare has developed a set of comprehensive clinical pathways in preparation for such an eventuality," said Dr Anchen Laubscher, medical director of Netcare. "These pathways were developed in consultation with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) with whom we collaborate closely. The pathways are used routinely and as a precautionary measure by our emergency medical personnel, doctors and hospital staff to assess any patient who has been exposed to the risk factors associated with viral haemorrhagic fevers (VHF), and would also be used in the event of treatment of such patients."

A dedicated line of communication was established from the outset to keep role players within Netcare up to date on the Ebola situation, while training has been conducted in all Netcare's emergency departments to ensure readiness. Strict infection prevention protocols aligned to international best practice, under the guidance of the DoH and NICD, are also in place in all Netcare hospitals as a precautionary measure to safeguard staff, patients and visitors.



Issued by : Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare
Contact : Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Sarah Beswick or Jillian Penaluna
Telephone : (011) 469 3016
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