Volunteers work to establish temporary hospital in Midrand to treat Covid-19 patients

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    An artist rendering of one of the potential rooms in the Celicia Makiwane Gallaher Critical Care Hospital. Photo: Supplied

    MIDRAND – The Universal Healthcare Foundation will be teaming up with the private and public sector to establish the Celicia Makiwane Gallagher Critical Care Hospital.

    A team of 80 professional have come forward as volunteers to establish the Celicia Makiwane Gallagher Critical Care Hospital in Midrand.

    The team, which is made up of actuaries, engineers, doctors and others, has been working together since March to put together blueprints for a fully-equipped and state-of-the-art emergency and critical care Covid-19 testing and treatment hospital, which will be a temporary hospital. The group also includes individuals who have been involved in the integrated building and commissioning of private and public hospital for 40 years.

    The Celicia Makiwane Gallagher Critical Care Hospital is the named after South Africa’s first black registered nurse, healthcare pioneer and human rights campaigner, and is the brainchild of medical doctor and director of the Universal Healthcare Foundation, Dr Johan Pretorius. The hospital is earmarked to be established at the Gallagher Convention Centre and is currently in the organisational stages with ongoing conversations with the National and Gauteng Departments of Health.

    Pretorius said, “We have carefully interrogated projections from all experts, nationally and internationally, and our own actuaries concur with the most recent projections of loss of life and shortage of ICU beds that lie ahead in the months to come, as presented by Dr Sheetal Silal of the Department of Statistical Sciences at the University of Cape Town (UCT). All indications suggest that there are dire days ahead in the fight against Covid-19, unless South Africans band together to take swift and drastic action in preparing for the peak of the pandemic.

    “Based on our projections, we are certain that we are going to run out of critical care beds in South Africa in the coming months. The Cecilia Makiwane Gallagher Critical Care Hospital, which will add more critical care beds for really ill Covid-19 patients requiring hospitalisation, is in our view of vital importance and extremely urgent.”

    Pretorius said that he has been appointed to the infrastructure office of the National Department of Health so work could commence. “We have had a number of positive and collaborative interactions to establish this facility as a private-public partnership but, unfortunately, no decisions have been forthcoming yet and we cannot proceed to build a facility without the necessary approval.”

    The hospital will operate for seven months during the peak of the pandemic with a month to set up before and a month to decommission the hospital at the end. The hospital will follow the model of the United Kingdom’s Nightingale hospitals and can be built in approximately four weeks.

    “We operate in a very different environment to the UK and other first-world environments, and have to operate with limited resources and a shortage of highly trained medical and nursing professionals who will be essential for a facility such as this.”

    The funding of the hospital will see a partnership between the private and public sector with the Universal Healthcare Foundation working closely with government, Business South Africa and the Solidarity Fund. Once the hospital has been decommissioned, all capital and reusable goods will be donated to Department of Health for redeployment within the public sector.

    The Department of Health said that they could not comment on this issue.

    Details: www.universal.co.za

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