The Solidarity Fund — created to help support SA’s health and welfare response to the Covid-19 crisis — said on Monday that it has approved about R1.4bn in funding across its health care, social relief and public awareness efforts.

In an update of the fund’s work, it announced that by June 18 it had amassed R2.9bn in pledges of support, with more than R2.6bn already deposited. The fund has set a target to raise R4bn.

Seeded with an initial R150m in capital from the government, donations have come in from 1,800 corporates and trusts and nearly 264,000 individual donors.

 “We continue to make steady progress on our aim to support the national health response, contribute to humanitarian relief efforts and mobilise South Africans to drive a united response to the Covid-19,” said the fund’s interim CEO, Nomkhita Nqweni, in a statement.

So far the fund has approved R1.2bn towards the health-care response including the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), testing kits and ventilators.

Its health-care interventions have helped procure more than 35-million articles of PPE including surgical masks, gowns and gloves.

It has also funded the purchase of 200 ICU ventilators to be delivered towards the end of July, while R250m has been approved to support the National Health Laboratory Service to increase testing capacity as the national lockdown eases.

Alongside its health-care work, R137m has been approved for humanitarian relief efforts, which have helped provide food parcels to more than 280,000 families — surpassing the fund’s target of support for 250,000 households.

To ensure national coverage, the parcels have been distributed through a range of partners including the department of social development and large food non-profits, as well as community and faith-based organisations.

Education and awareness programmes have been allocated R36m — with the fund last week launching its “Citizens in Solidarity” campaign in support of behavioural changes. The campaign will be in all 11 official languages across radio, television, billboards and digital media.

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