Dr Zweli Mkhize inaugurates a new COVID19 Field hospital in the Eastern Cape

The first phase of the newly built Rev. Dr Elizabeth Mamisa Chabula-Nxiweni Field Hospital in Nelson Mandela Bay, can accommodate 1 485 patients for the first phase.

Mkhize announced that the R11-million project was a partnership between Volkswagen South Africa (VWSA), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the German development agency GIZ, the Eastern Cape Department of Health, Nelson Mandela Bay municipality and the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber.

VWSA donation is the infrastructure combined with the provision of hospital beds as well as the strengthening of the testing capacity by supporting the national health laboratory services. Already 3 300 beds, along with the oxygen reticulation to go with it, have been established in the first phase.

Mkhize referred to the project, as an epitome of multi-sectoral collaboration and the partnership between spheres of government, brought together by the private sector for a common purpose- to defeat COVID-19 together. 

“South Africa has a long and rich history with Germany, and today is another day that this bilateral kinship etches its mark in history. I agree that this is a mark of solidarity. This is a special occasion where we solidify our bilateral relations, and so it is my sincere honour and pleasure to be here in Uitenhage, on the premises of the Volkswagen South Africa manufacturing plant,” Mkhize said.  

Mkhize said the project was a reflection of solidarity to save humanity.

“This project is indeed a reflection of solidarity by two nations to save humanity

VW is a well known brand in this country: established in 1946, it is the largest German investment in South Africa and is a major contributor to foreign direct investment, technology transfer and skills development,” said Mkhize.

He said that this was an important Programme with collaboration and cooperation of various players. Mkhize thanked the Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane, Eastern Cape Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba and chairperson and MD of VWSA Thomas Schaefer  .  

“A great deal of thought and enterprise has gone into this project and I want to thank you all for the hard work, compassion and dedication. Many people doubted that we could build field hospitals in a matter of weeks las we had seen China. But we have seen in the process of our collaboration has demonstrated that with energy, innovation and and focus in social justice, we can never be stopped from achieving what is necessary to save the lives of our people.The Coronavirus pandemic demands no less, and you have all stepped up and become equal to the task.” said the Minister.

He said that he wished the project initiative is the beginning of a lasting legacy that will positively impact the lives of our people for generations to come

“The collaboration between public and private heralds a new future of partnership in the interest of building a stronger economy and creating a healthier population. 

The name that has been chosen for this facility is particularly befitting.” Mkhze added. 

Mkhize paid homage to Rev Dr. Elizabeth Mamisa Chabula-Nxiweni for her legacy of excellence and compassion during her term as a health worker.

“I would like to take a moment to pay homage to for the legacy of excellence and compassion she has embodied in health care.  We hope this field hospital will come to represent all these virtues. 

Your groundbreaking work and activism for safe circumcision surely emanates from a spirit of constantly seeking justice in the way we relate to one another as humanity.  

Mkhize reiterated that there has been a clear causal relationship demonstrated between adverse outcomes and the presence of co-morbidities. 

“Hypertension, diabetes, chronic lung disease and chronic kidney disease have emerged as the most common co-morbidities seen in hospitalized and deceased patients with hypertension being the most commonly associated co-morbidity.” said the Minister.

Mkhize said the risk of people living with HIV and AIDS need still be determined against COVID19.

“Although preliminary evidence does suggest increased odds of adverse outcomes, especially for patients who are not taking ARV’s, have high viral loads and low CD4 counts, we still need to thoroughly check their risks,” Mkhize said

Mhize said that people need to look after each other and work in partnership to protect each other.

“The partnership we are witnessing today is exemplary and this is the way South Africa should move forward as we battle this pandemic.” 

“I would therefore like to declare the Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Mamisa Chabula-Nxiweni Field Hospital open! 

I thank you.” said the Minister.