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Solar MD Batteries supply power to 100 hospital bed's in East London.

Siemens South Africa, the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development and the Solidarity Fund officially handed over a separate 100-bed modular hospital solution to the Cecilia Makiwane Hospital, in Mdantsane, near East London, on May 14. Built in fewer than 100 days, the hospital extension is intended to alleviate healthcare pressure brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and improve access to healthcare, even beyond the pandemic. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development – through Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit – is funding the project with up to R63-million. Charitable association Siemens Caring Hands has contributed donations of R9-million, money which was raised from Siemens employees, effectively doubling the in-kind contributions made by Siemens and Siemens Healthineers. Pharmaceutical company Aspen Pharmaceuticals also contributed R4-million to the project. The South African Solidarity Fund managed the donations while the Eastern Cape Department of Health is ensuring the professional operation of the unit by deploying dedicated staff and providing medical supplies. Cecilia Makiwane Hospital CEO Sicelo Msi says the new wing will address some of the key challenges the hospital is facing. German Economic Cooperation and Development Federal Minister Dr Gerd Müller says that, together with Siemens, the ministry is sending a “strong signal” that Germany’s partner countries can rely on it in difficult times. He adds that Covid-19 will only be defeated by working together globally and that is why Germany is working with South Africa to help it establish South Africa’s own vaccine production capacity. Siemens Southern and Eastern Africa CEO Sabine Dall’Omo notes that South Africa’s healthcare system, like that of other countries, was not prepared for the effects of Covid-19 and took strain and that by mobilising resources, the burden on the sector has been reduced. Solidarity Fund CEO Tandi Nzimande says the completion of the Cecilia Makiwane modular hospital solution is particularly timely, as South Africa is currently in autumn, heading into winter – seasons associated with a spike in infections, as well as a looming potential third wave. The modular hospital solution will be equipped with Siemens Healthineers medical technology, which includes Acuson P500 ultrasound units, Mobilett Elara Max X-Ray machines and blood gas machines. This range of imaging equipment is uniquely designed for maximum mobility and is indispensable in detecting Covid-19 infections. The solution also includes Siemens’ fire detection range, as well as modern ultraviolet disinfection equipment from Violet Defense that will support in controlling contaminations in high contact areas of the modular hospital. Further, Siemens is powering the new expansion with a solar modular configuration with battery storage by SustainSolar, using the Siemens Sicam microgrid controller to enable a decentralised and clean power supply 24/7. Communities such as Mdantsane are not adequately prepared to deal with the major health effects posed by the pandemic and require as much assistance as possible to manage it. “The building of the modular hospital will ease the pressure on the high volume of patients as well as create an efficient medical-service facility. We are extremely grateful to the stakeholders involved in this remarkable initiative,” says Msi.

EDITED BY: Chanel de Bruyn

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