Ford South Africa has showed its total commitment to the fight against Civid-19 with government by making a very generous contribution of R2.5-million to the National Occupational Health Surveillance System (OHSS).
This program is run by the National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOH) which monitors workers wellbeing in both the public and private spheres – is the public entity of the National Department of Health. The two have been leading the country on Covid-19 workplace guidelines and procedures, surveillance, online training, education and research.
According to Neale Hill, managing director of Ford South Africa, many South Africans are some of the hardest-hit in the world and that a very unique and novel way of tacking the pandemic needed to be devised.
“The Covid-19 pandemic hit the people of South Africa extremely hard, whether directly through suffering the effects of the disease or losing loved ones, and by virtue of the long-term economic fallout and resulting job loses,” he said.
“Therefore, helping fund the NIOH surveillance system with the R2.5-million donation is the logical next step in our commitment to partnering with national government as it rolls out this project to ensure that the country is better equipped and resourced to manage this health crisis, and many others that may follow,” added Hill.
Dr. Spo Kgalamono, who is the executive director of the NIOH, praised Ford’s donation and called it “a valuable contribution” in support of the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
“We we extremely touched by this generous donation from Ford and thank you for the support in this war against Covid-19,” she said.
“The development of the OHSS arose as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic and was a joint development between the CSIR and NIOH. This donation will assist the institute by improving and maintaining the hardware; upgrading and further development of operating systems and data visualization, as well as the development and provision of data links with the employers in the formal sectors,” Kgalamono said.
“The reports are presented at the national works stream meetings in the national occupational health work stream meetings in the national department of health Covid-19 response as well as to trade unions, employer and community groups in NEDLAC.”
Ford has been in the forefront of leading other private sector partners in the fight against Covid-19 since March last year, when South Africa went into lockdown. The company has put together programs geared towards helping and empowering its employees and suppliers and a number of non-profit organizations countrywide.
“Covid-19 dramatically impacted the way Ford does business in South Africa and around the world, and we are delighted to partner with the NIOH to help bolster the Occupational Health Surveillance System,” said Dhinen Vanmali, executive director of government affairs for Ford International Markets Group.
The company has used its Silverton assembly plant into a production station for the manufacturing of over 285 000 face shields. To date almost 140 000 face shields have been donated to government healthcare workers countrywide and a further 7 000 supplied to humanitarian groups.
Ford has also established dedicated flu clinics for extensive screening and testing procedures at the Silverton and Struandale centres to ensure that manufacturing employees are able to return to work safely and start production wearing personal protective equipment (PPEs).