Isuzu is a partner for the long run, particularly when it comes to becoming proactively involved in providing healthcare support to the local community during the COVID-19 crisis.
For the past few weeks Isuzu’s Vehicle Conversion and Distribution Centre (VCDC) in Markman Industrial Township, Port Elizabeth, was made available to serve as a centralised logistics and distribution hub for medical supplies required by Nelson Mandela Bay’s hospitals treating Covid-19 patients.
The 2000 square metre VCDC warehouse not only stored the life-saving medical supplies, but Isuzu also oversaw the receipt and distribution of medical supplies to the relevant hospitals with a dedicated fleet of trucks.
This forms part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber’s Ubuntu COVID-19 initiative – a collaborative approach by businesses in Nelson Mandela Bay to proactively mobilise resources to support emergency response readiness activities in the region.
Denise van Huyssteen, IMSAf Corporate Affairs, Business Strategy and Legal Executive, and leader of the Business Chamber Task Teams, said Isuzu ensured that there was visibility and accountability in terms of the handling of the medical supplies, donated by partner organisations and businesses in Nelson Mandela Bay.
“The receiving of products into the warehouse was managed by our IT Inventory System, as well as the storage and despatching of orders from the warehouse by a group of Isuzu Supply Chain staff volunteers. This ensured that there has been visibility and accountability in terms of the handling of the medical supplies,” said Van Huyssteen.
With the gradual return of production at Isuzu and subsequent need for operations to return to normal at the VCDC, the medical supplies and equipment have now been moved to global transport and logistics company DSV’s facilities located next door to Isuzu’s Struandale plant. “DSV is Isuzu’s logistics and warehouse partner and will continue running the medical supply project in partnership with us,” said Tony Pienaar, General Manager of Supply Chain Management and Quality for Isuzu Motors South Africa. “Critical items such as disposable aprons, sanitisers, respirators and face masks are currently being stored at the facility.”
Isuzu is involved in a number of other initiatives to support the healthcare fraternity in responding to the COVID-19 crisis.
In April Isuzu undertook the task of renovating the Livingstone and Provincial hospitals in Port Elizabeth, to increase capacity to accommodate COVID-19 patients who require screening, testing and hospitalisation. Within just eight days, Isuzu’s maintenance team and contractors, worked around the clock to deliver the refurbished rooms.
Livingstone Hospital is the dedicated COVID-19 medical institution for hospitalisation in the region and through the company’s efforts an additional 135 beds were created, while the old decommissioned casualty building at the Provincial Hospital was refurbished to accommodate 25 beds to serve as a transfer location for COVID-19 patients.
“During this time of crisis, we strongly believe that it is important that with our partners and stakeholders we all rally together to do what is in the best interests of the city and its people as a whole,” said Van Huyssteen.
Isuzu has also made 15 bakkies available to First Rand’s SA Pandemic Intervention and Relief Effort (SPIRE) which is directly assisting the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Health Sciences with the transportation of personal protective equipment and medical supplies to support community health workers.
Furthermore, through the company’s ongoing relationship with the humanitarian relief organisation, Gift of the Givers, Isuzu has increased its vehicle support to the organisation to support its COVID-19 interventions, which include food aid and support for critical medical services on the ground in communities across South Africa.