In these unprecedented times, Bestmed Medical Scheme understands that many South Africans are experiencing the pressure of a decreased household income, or even lack thereof. The Scheme, therefore, recognises the need to assist members of the community who are struggling financially during South Africa’s COVID-19 lockdown. Therefore, funds were made available to contribute towards COVID-19 relief efforts. These funds will be allocated towards much needed food and sanitising supplies, three-layer masks and high-quality cloth pads.
Operation Hunger provides a monthly feeding scheme for about 5000 vulnerable families in 43 rural areas and informal settlements countrywide. Funds will be used to provide these families with food and sanitising parcels.
Interim CEO of Operation Hunger, Sandy Bukula, states, “We live in an age of great uncertainty and we are seeing the early impact of the global pandemic, that is COVID-19, on malnutrition in South Africa. It is a terrible nationwide indictment that after 40 years of taking positive action against malnutrition, we are receiving an increase of up to 400 families per month who need immediate relief food packages.
“Through its pillars of nutrition, education and development, Operation Hunger creates partnerships between vulnerable households and the community. This integrated ecosystem gives each family improved access to a better future for their children. Adopting a growth monitoring approach to each community and its projects, Operation Hunger has been able to use its nutritional and feeding programmes to include vegetable garden projects, poultry framing projects, water tank projects, health initiative projects and water access projects.
“Through the support of donors like Bestmed, Operation Hunger is better placed to continue its efforts to realise its vision of a South Africa where malnutrition and poverty no longer undermine South Africa’s health and economic state.”
Made by South African women, Palesa Pads are high-quality cloth pads that are washable and can be used for up to five years. Donated kits will include three pads, a bucket, cleaning materials to wash the pads and a drying clip.
“Bestmed’s donation of Palesa Reusable Sanitary Pad Flo Kits will make a commendable difference to the communities who receive them,” states Shérie ‘Palesa’ de Wet, Founder and CEO of Palesa Pads. “The lockdown has caused financial hardship for many South African families who have lost jobs and now battle to afford essential monthly items. Disposable sanitary pads are often expensive and out of reach for many women and girls.”
de Wet further explains, “Palesa Pads are made from breathable, high-quality fabric and are protected by a full waterproof layer to ensure that a women or girl can manage her period with dignity and comfort. The lack of chemicals in cloth pads make them a healthier choice for all women. The fabric is stain-resistant so they are easy to wash, even with minimal water. Palesa Pads can be washed and used again each month for up to 5 years, providing a sustainable and eco-friendly solution for menstrual hygiene management.”
Funds have also been allocated towards Bestmed branded three-layer masks. Bestmed has partnered with Inkhazi to manufacture the masks, which will be distributed via Unjani Clinics in Tshwane. The network of clinics provides accessible, affordable and quality healthcare to communities in low income areas.
Lynda Toussaint, CEO of Unjani Clinics NPC, states, “Bestmed is providing 600 masks to Unjani Clinic employees, as well as 14 700 masks and 1 000 Palesa Reusable Sanitary Pad Flo Kits to be donated to community members in and around Tshwane. This donation will make a great difference during this time within the Unjani Clinic’s community.”
On Friday, 14 August 2020, Madelein Barkhuizen, Karen Cooper and Anni Wolf visited Unjani Clinic in Mamelodi. They handed over 2 250 Bestmed branded masks and 125 Palesa Reusable Sanitary Pad Flo Kits to the clinic’s employees, who will hand the items out to the community. Palesa Pads joined Bestmed to demonstrate how the pads work.
Bestmed employees have also been part of the solution and have generously donated a total of R624 911.73 in their own capacity towards a relief fund.
Bestmed remains committed to ensuring that they are large enough to create value not just for their beneficiaries, but for members of the community who are in need; that they are personal enough to provide care for each one of them; and that they are humble enough to listen and to respond with agility to realign their service to their mutual vision of helping South Africans live their best lives today, tomorrow and beyond.