With a possible Covid-19 fourth wave on the cards, the Solidarity Fund said on Tuesday it is committed to providing support to the Department of Health and provinces through the provision of equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines while ensuring that as many people as possible are vaccinated ahead of the festive season.
The Fund was briefing the media on its Integrated Annual Report for the period from its March 25, 2020 date of incorporation through to February 28, 2021.
Over R3.22-billion in Covid-19 relief has been raised as of the end of the Fund’s first financial year.
To date, a total of R3.44-billion has been raised.
Solidarity CEO Tandi Nzimande highlighted that these additional funds are owing to a further fundraising drive undertaken to fund the Solidarity Fund’s work on the national vaccination campaign.
Of the funds raised for Covid relief, R2.62-billion has been disbursed across three pillars: R1.97-billion to Health Response, R37-million towards the Humanitarian area; and R28-million to Behavioural Change.
Nzimande explained that the remaining funds have been allocated to interventions across the Fund’s pillars that are either in approval stage or in the process of execution.
The Fund’s support of the Covid-19 vaccine programme began with providing the funding for the R283-million down payment for South Africa’s entry into the COVAX programme.
To date vaccine doses received in the second quarter is 1 392 700 and 1 181 700 in quarter three. Doses donated by the US through Covax totalled 10 048 560.
The Fund also provided R50-million funding in support of the Johnson & Johnson Sisonke vaccine implementation study which helped to kickstart the vaccination of health workers early on in the pandemic and ahead of the third wave.
Solidarity Fund health pillar co-lead Dr Gugu Ngubane said the Fund is helping the health department prioritise the uninsured, most vulnerable, hard to reach communities, and districts or communities with low vaccine uptake and coverage.
The fund approved a co-funding contribution of R69-million in partnership with various donors, through a public innovator DGMT, to provide technical assistance and human resource capacitation support to the health department.
Ngubane explained that the fully-equipped and innovative modular solution, comprising of 100 beds, a testing lab and bulk pharmacy will help alleviate pressure on the Eastern Cape health system, especially for the Buffalo City Metro in East London, and help bolster medical services into the future.
SURGE CAPACITY OUTREACH SITES
In anticipation of increased demand, the Solidarity Fund approved funding of R300-million to support the National Department of Health in rolling out additional vaccination sites to meet anticipated demand around the country.
Ngubane highlighted that the sites are aimed at supporting the department in their efforts to address issues of coverage, access and equity in the vaccination programme through fixed, temporary and mobile outreach sites that bring the vaccines directly to underserved communities.
In early July, the Fund supported the health department in running a pilot project at 10 prioritised South African Social Security Agency pay points across seven districts in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, the Western Cape and in the Free State.
Additionally, Ngubane said the Fund anticipates providing support for mobile or roving outreach small sites to improve coverage and access, prioritising rural, semi-urban, townships and any other hard to reach areas are also being activated.
The Fund also approved R68 100 971 in funding towards fire compliance in Block One of the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital, which was recently ravaged by a fire.