SA NGO donates 4300 masks to COVID-19 frontline
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As South Africa battles to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, South African NGO, Smile Foundation, has donated 4000 N95 masks, and 300 cutting-edge imported masks with ‘germ trap’ technology to medical workers on South Africa’s frontline.

There’s been growing concern across the country around shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), including surgical masks, visors, gloves and disposable aprons.

Smile Foundation CEO Hedley Lewis says these essential masks, valued at over R370,000, will be distributed to 7 national hospitals.

“Smile Foundation responded hurriedly during this crucial time. We are beyond appreciative for the work being done by SA’s frontline workers, and we hope we can make a significant difference by providing masks that will help to protect and support them as they continue to put themselves on the line.”

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Smile Foundation is the only organisation in South Africa to have brought the 300 ground-breaking masks into SA. Virustatic Shields, which have been specially imported from Manchester, UK, are the first facemasks scientifically proven to neutralise viruses upon contact.

Unlike ordinary masks, Virustatic Shields have a powerful antiviral coating that neutralises against 96% of known pathogens including COVID-19 and acts as a barrier that traps and disrupts the virus’s protective membrane on contact.  Even after the protein on the mask is deactivated (after up to 500 hours of usage), the mask can still be effectively worn as an ordinary cloth mask, continuing to offer protection and reducing disposal costs and pollution.  

“The mask neutralises the virus droplets by making it think that it has been “absorbed” into the lungs and is killed as it touches the protein base on the masks. It is lightweight, reusable and washable, and moulds to the face, so medical workers can wear it comfortably for hours at a time,” comments Hedley.

These state-of-the-art masks were generously sponsored by the Lubner Family Foundation who are committed to uplifting the lives of South Africans.

“Marc Lubner, Co-founder and Executive Chairman of Smile Foundation, felt pioneering solutions needed to be sought to better protect the country’s medical workers on the frontline. Marc’s goal is to bring in the best of its fields, as was his focus 20 years ago with the inception of Smile Foundation. Marc has enabled this vision which is ingrained and lived by all of us at Smile Foundation. Marc says Smile Foundation’s objective is to locally manufacture the Virustatic Shields if the demand is big enough.”

Through various and innovative fundraising campaigns, Smile Foundation have also yielded:

  • Medical gloves
  • Theatre scrubs
  • Cleft bottles
  • Infrared thermometer guns
  • Theatre shields
  • Sanitisers
  • Psychological Support

“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the incredible support received from to donors across South Africa.

These efforts serve as proof that no matter how small or big the amount, it all can make a huge impact. Finally, we want to thank every single medical worker who is working so hard to support South Africa during the fight against this devastating pandemic,” he concludes.