In 2020, we undertook a series of emergency response approaches to Covid-19. Specifically, we aimed to provide support to those who were excluded from mainstream efforts to protect against the spread of the virus and to mitigate its impacts. In 2021, we led a programme of coordinated donor support for the national Covid-19 vaccination rollout.
What we’ve learnt
We have documented our experience responding to Covid-19 in 2020 in a book authored by our CEO, David Harrison, and published by Porcupine Press. You can read it for free here:
Review & Documentation: Coordinated donor support to the COVID-19 vaccination programme
The CDS initiative was conceived in January 2021 when several philanthropic organisations realised that a fast and effective COVID-19 vaccination programme was crucial and that the National Department of Health (NDoH) would require comprehensive and coordinated financial, strategic and technical support in order to implement such a response.
This report presents the results of a detailed review of the CDS (CDS) to the South African government’s COVID-19 vaccination programme. The review was conducted in early 2023 by a team led by Dr Andrew Hartnack, gathering primary and secondary evidence from programme records and documents, 59 in-depth key informant interviews, and an electronic survey with technical support personnel.
Our emergency response to Covid-19:
The aim of this Covid-19 response project was to procure and provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to community-level workers.
During the lockdown when schools remained closed, DGMT advocated for the zero-rating of educational content provided by public benefit organisations so children could keep learning.
DGMT supported the National Department of Health and SABC Education to produce 8–10 minute radio inserts around the Covid-19 epidemic to reach people who did not have access to smartphones.
DGMT distributed digital food vouchers that were redeemable for any goods sold in spaza shops but were strongly associated with communication of the ten ‘best buys’ of affordable nutritious foods to prevent acute malnutrition during the pandemic.
Together with more than 164 individuals representing research facilities, academia, civil society, government and the private sector, DGMT advocated for the implementation of five urgent and effective policy measures to prevent alcohol-related harm.
This included strategic support to the National Department of Health, employing additional personnel at provincial and district levels to strengthen capacity for implementation, and helping NGOs to participate in local planning and mobilisation.
This project began as a social media and community engagement campaign that sought to place young people in control of the messages around Covid-19, create incentives for their participation, and bring vaccinations to them. But it has evolved into a campaign promoting positive healthcare-seeking behaviour among the youth.