Paramount Group has donated 1 000 facial masks to the South Africa National Defence Force (SANDF) in their continued effort to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to those on the country’s front lines of what has become a global COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
The donation, which was handed over on 7 May, comes after aeronautical engineers from Paramount recently teamed up with emergency doctors in Johannesburg for the design and production of innovative ‘Intuboxes’ to equip and protect healthcare workers treating patients suffering from COVID-19.
Paramount Labs, a research, development and prototyping division within the Paramount Group of companies, has now rapidly assigned its technicians and engineers to prototype and manufacture additional personal protective equipment (PPE) such as facial-masks to protect South Africa’s frontline workers, the company said.
Eric Ichikowitz, Senior Vice President of Paramount Group, stated that, “The important role that our SANDF plays during a national emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, should never be taken for granted. As a country we can be very proud of the selfless commitment of our armed forces in mitigating the impact and spread of the virus across our nation.
“It has always been the mandate of Paramount Group to develop technologies and solutions with Africa-borne ingenuity to protect armed personnel in peacekeeping, police and defence force operations. Ultimately, everything we do is about saving lives. It is a great privilege to bolster the safety of SANDF personnel through our donation of protective equipment.”
Following the decision by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to increase the numbers of SANDF members to strengthen the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, with various skills within the SANDF deployed in support of other government departments to deal decisively with contingencies that might arise, a growing list of essential service providers urgently require support.
Compounded by shortages of PPE equipment amidst the crisis, a call was issued to private businesses with manufacturing capability to join forces in the fight against COVID-19.
From its manufacturing facilities to the deployment of its highly-skilled engineers and technicians, to the CO2 laser-cutting production of lightweight, practical and comfortable medical equipment such as facial-masks, Paramount Group says it is making available its resources to bolster what has been deemed thus far a collective “energetic and evidence-based” response by South Africa’s government to the outbreak.
Traditional facial-masks that cover the mouth, usually made from fabric to protect the respiratory system against breathing germs in, do not prevent those same germs from entering the system through the eyes. Paramount Group’s Labs Team accordingly sought to prototype and manufacture a visor that would protect the eyes, and mouth, where additional protection could be afforded by wearing the visor alongside a breathing mask.
Previous recipients in the company’s first few weeks of support have included the Steve Biko University of Pretoria Academic Hospital as well as the President’s Office.