19 July 2021, Johannesburg. International Zinc producer, Vedanta Zinc International (VZI), donated 40 medical respiratory devices as part of their efforts to assist the local department of health fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The devices manufactured by OxERA were handed over to the Dr Van Niekerk District Hospital in Springbok in the Northern Cape to help the health facilities meet the oxygen requirement for COVID-19 patients.

"These respiratory devices will assist us in supplying the much-needed medical oxygen and ease the burden on our healthcare system," said Dr Chris Nöthling, a doctor at the Dr Van Niekerk District Hospital.

"We believe it is our duty as members of these communities to support the people of the Namakwa and Khai-Ma district during this time of great need. We need a collaborative effort in fighting the pandemic and help bring relief to the district's healthcare system. This is our way of acknowledging the endurance and commitment of healthcare workers in South Africa. We are proud that we are able to help improve the quality of care and assist healthcare workers to ensure a better outcome for their patients," said Pieter Van Greunen, Gamsberg General Manager.

The third wave of COVID-19 infections has left many healthcare facilities overwhelmed by rising patient numbers. As a result, the need for oxygen supply has increased dramatically. Unfortunately, high flow oxygen devices are not sustainable or efficient as a single device could deplete a 10.2kg oxygen cylinder within 2-3 hours.

That is why VZI donated OxERA respiratory devices, this device uses an anaesthetic mask and an adjustable mechanical PEEP valve that is simple to assemble, is cost-effective, and more importantly, it is oxygen efficient.

"Tests have shown that not only can high levels of oxygen consistently be delivered with the critical benefit of PEEP, but less oxygen is usually needed as the supply can be titrated to patient demand rather than being left fully open to compensate for leaks," continues Dr Nöthling.

In addition to the donation of respiratory devices, VZI continues to partner with the local government to assist on COVID-19 relief initiatives, like the fumigation of community spaces in the Khai-Ma Municipality. The mine has also supplied rapid COVID-19 test kits for Aggeneys school children and lunch packs for outreach healthcare workers.

"Since the COVID-19 virus hit our shores in 2020, VZI provided COVID-19 support to the distressed Namakwa and Khai-Ma communities. PPEs, care and hygiene packs were also delivered to clinics, hospitals, care centres, schools and community members in need of support. The local Community Health Centre (CHC) also received much-needed upgrades during this time," said Pieter Van Greunen.

Expressing their gratitude, Llewelyn Jordaan, Manager of Huis E.J of Appies and Immanuel Centre said “We wish to express our deepest appreciation for your donation of essential items for our elderly and differently abled patients. We are deeply humbled by Vedanta’s commitment to our most vulnerable residents during these trying times. We have been hard hit by the pandemic, your dedications shows the larger role you play in South Africa of creating a better life for all.”

"We hope that these donations to healthcare workers and patients provide relief for the most vulnerable in our community, and we will continue to partner with all stakeholders to ensure that we overcome this pandemic," concluded Van Greunen.