A donation of medical equipment by General Motors South Africa (GMSA) will go a long way in saving the lives of children with respiratory distress and pneumonia at New Somerset Hospital in the Western Cape.
The handover of a high flow nasal oxygen unit was driven by GMSA’s Employee Benefits Division through its Health and Wellness programme, whose mantra ‘Touch a Life’ extends beyond employees to include an all-round focus on the health and wellness of the company’s extended community.
According to recent studies pneumonia and respiratory illnesses are responsible for the largest number of childhood deaths in South Africa. Malaine Hop Hing, GMSA Human Resources Manager, Benefits and Services, said one cannot put a price on human life, hence GMSA put their financial muscle behind such an import and life-saving project.
“We believe that the high flow nasal oxygen unit can make a difference in the lives of so many children who suffer from respiratory illnesses,” said Hop Hing.
Doctor Donna Stokes, Chief Executive Officer at New Somerset Hospital, said with the new equipment staff are now able to stabilise children quicker, shorten their hospital stay and lessen the anxiety of having to receive treatment.
“Since we received the high flow machine, we used it on five children between the ages of 6 months to 10 years, with conditions including asthma, bronchiolitis and pneumonia.
“Medical staff and parents have all been amazed by how quickly the children settle and breathe easier. One of the nurses has labelled it ‘the miracle machine.’ We feel empowered to be able to treat our young patients and offer them a world class service.”
Before GMSA donated the machine, children had to be transferred to the Red Cross Hospital for treatment.
The high flow oxygen unit warms and moistens the airflow making it easier for the young patient to breath. The machine also provides them with a more comfortable experience enabling their lungs to operate habitually, stokes explained.
“New Somerset Hospital and our paediatric team are exceptionally grateful to GMSA for this wonderful donation. It will assist us in delivering the best care to our young patients,” said Stokes.
The GMSA Health & Wellness programme was introduced in 2001 and targets GMSA employees, their families and communities as well as retirees who previously worked for the company.
Last year their arm of caring stretched to the Igazi Ward at Provincial Hospital in Port Elizabeth who received a heavy-duty industrial washing machine and tumble dryer to help lighten the scrub load for the Igazi Foundation’s hard working haematological services team.
Other successes include community initiatives that advocate child protection against domestic violence, sexual offences and drugs and alcohol abuse.