L – R: Manfred Gie (VWSA), Darlene de Vos (Eastern Cape Department of Health), Nyameka Hoffman (Uitenhage Provincial Hospital) and Nakedi Nkoana (VWSA).
L – R: Manfred Gie (VWSA), Darlene de Vos (Eastern Cape Department of Health), Nyameka Hoffman (Uitenhage Provincial Hospital) and Nakedi Nkoana (VWSA).
  • 11 containers donated to local clinics to be used as ablution facilities
  • Beds and lockers also supplied to healthcare facilities, old age homes, and child and youth care centres

As part of its Field Hospital Legacy project, Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) has supported the critical offerings of several local clinics, hospitals and other institutions, by donating containers and other equipment from the decommissioned Rev. Dr Elizabeth Mamisa Chabula-Nxiweni Field Hospital.

The Field Hospital, which opened in June 2020 to support healthcare efforts with 1 485 beds during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, was decommissioned when the facility was no longer critical to Nelson Mandela Bay’s fight against the pandemic.

Following the decommissioning process, the decision was made to repurpose and re-install 11 containerised ablution facilities to the benefit of local clinics and hospitals. The beneficiaries of the containers included:

  • Uitenhage Provincial Hospital, receiving three containers that are now used for male and female ablutions in Casualty, as well as a supplementary ablution facility for staff;
  • Dora Nginza Hospital, receiving three containers for public ablutions;
  • West End Clinic, receiving two containers for public ablutions;
  • Laetitia Bam Clinic, receiving one container for public ablutions;
  • Motherwell CHC, receiving two containers for public ablutions.

Aside from preparing these containers and reconnecting services such as electricity, water and drainage, the containers were also repainted and new signage applied. Further work included replacing a part of the damaged boundary fence at the West End Clinic and providing connections to the existing structures at Dora Nginza Hospital.

Additionally, Uitenhage Provincial Hospital and Dora Nginza Hospital were among the recipients of beds and bedside lockers that were originally purchased for the Field Hospital. These donations included:

  • 800 medical beds, 280 wooden beds and 1 959 bedside lockers donated to eight Department of Health facilities across the Eastern Cape
  • 302 wooden beds and 170 bedside lockers donated to 15 Old Age Homes in Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City Metro
  • 902 wooden beds and 383 bedside lockers donated to 15 Child and Youth Care centres in Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City Metro

Funding for the container project came from Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, with VWSA supporting in terms of project management. The GIZ was also a key partner in the establishment of the Field Hospital at VWSA’s former Gqeberha plant in Neave. 

The conversion of this 66 000m² building was the result of collaboration between VWSA, the Eastern Cape Department of Health, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber and the GIZ. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) provided funding of 5.2 million Euros (R100 million) and VWSA contributed 1.3 million Euros (R25 million) for the facility, as well as the procurement of protective gear for frontline staff and refurbishment of the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) branch in Gqeberha to improve their Covid-19 testing capacity. 

“Joining forces with partners whose conviction and determination to make a difference match ours at VWSA, has been key to the impact we have made, and continue to make, throughout the hardship of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Manfred Gie, Strategic Plant Development Manager and project lead on VWSA’s Covid-19 response. “To VWSA, this is a legacy project which we hope will bring relief to the constrained health institutions that care for our communities.”

“The Eastern Cape Department of Health thanks VWSA for their valued and substantive contribution towards the fight against Covid-19 through establishing a field hospital within Gqeberha,” said Darlene de Vos, Nelson Mandela Bay district manager for the Eastern Cape Department of Health. “This investment to the people of the Eastern Cape continues to make a significant impact on the dignity and access to vital health technology across the province.”