Miles for masks: Run, walk or cycle to supply frontline medical staff with PPE across Africa
Recognising the importance of personal protective equipment, a group of organisations have partnered to supply healthcare workers with much-needed face masks by getting people to run, walk or cycle in support.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is crucial for healthcare workers in the fight against Covid-19. Not only does it protect frontline staff from possible infection, but it also protects patients from being infected in cases where healthcare workers unknowingly have the virus.
However, shortages of PPE, such as masks and face shields, have left doctors, nurses and other frontline workers vulnerable to Covid-19 infection.
In an attempt to help with this shortage, Miltons Matsemela Attorneys, the Cipla Foundation, Operation Smile and new NGO 54asOne, have partnered to raise awareness of the importance of PPE and to supply healthcare workers across Africa with much-needed face masks.
For the past five years, Miltons Matsemela has worked with the Cipla Foundation and David Grier, an adventurer and Cipla Foundation trustee, to raise funds for Operation Smile through the Miles for Smiles fundraiser.
Miles for Smiles facilitates corrective surgery for children born with a cleft lip and palate. However, with surgeons wanting to protect these children from possible Covid-19 infection, Operation Smile has decided to postpone surgeries for now. Efforts have been diverted to the newly created Miles for Masks initiative instead.
The Miles for Masks fundraiser is a 5km virtual race which can be run, walked, or even cycled at your own pace from any location you choose. Entries are R50 per person; there is also a corporate offer for R1,900, which buys you 20 entries and a 54asOne flag.
With the goal to reimagine and reshape healthcare in Africa, NGO 54asOne is providing corporates who enter with a 1.5m x 0.9m flag to proudly hang in their offices.
Rogelle Guba, a bond liaison at Miltons Matsemela, says that participants can do whatever they like for 5km on 16 June 2020 at 9am.
“The idea is to do some exercise to feel that you have done something for this cause, but you are also free to enter and relax on your couch too,” says Guba.
Grier says that the NGOs and companies involved in the project all have a common goal: Helping Africa’s frontline workers.
“We all agree that at this very moment in time, it’s the frontline staff who need to be protected because they protect us,” says Grier.
Grier adds that this specific event is to “supply as many masks as possible. All the masks donated and purchased through the fundraising effort will then be handed to Operation Smile who will, through their network, distribute to the neediest of the frontline staff.”
The fundraiser has been gaining traction with entrants from as far away as Dubai, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.
“It has been spreading. It is amazing to see how many people are taking this up and care about healthcare workers in Africa,” says Grier. DM/MC
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