At a briefing of stakeholders today, Business for South Africa said that there is an urgent need to advance the phased approach to the restart of the economy, while supporting the national response to minimise the broader societal impacts of COVID-19.
Evidence-based policy making, together with an accelerated risk-adjusted release of the lockdown, will enable a successful return to work while saving lives and livelihoods and reinvigorating full economic activity in a coordinated and integrated way. This follows the extensive work undertaken to tackle the crisis since B4SA’s formation in mid-March 2020.
In collaboration with government at all levels, as well as with social partners at Nedlac, we need to accelerate the restart of the economy to minimise hardship, hunger and desperation. These factors could threaten the rule of law and weaken South Africa’s capacity to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have every reason to believe that a safe return to work will be successfully achieved. This is provided that people and businesses abide by the hygiene, mask usage and social distancing protocols, adhere to regulations inside the workplace and in public places and, importantly, cooperate with the authorities with due regard for healthcare protocols to reduce the risk of transmission.
South Africa needs to be enabled to move down the various levels – and back to full economic activity – as quickly and responsibly as possible. To view the full update presentation from Business for South Africa’s Health, Economic Intervention and Labour workgroups, please go to https://www.businessforsa.org/business-for-sa-update-webcast-presentation/
BUSINESS FOR SOUTH AFRICA PARTNERS WITH EM GUIDANCE TO DRIVE DIGITAL COVID-19 RESOURCE PLATFORM FOR HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS
Business for South Africa’s (B4SA) Health Workgroup has partnered with Essential Medical Guidance (EMGuidance), the country’s largest free digital health care platform and community, which has launched a dedicated COVID-19 Support Channel for South African health care professionals (HCPs) in both the public and private sectors.
The COVID-19 platform will ensure South African HCPs, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, and paramedics have ongoing access to resources, advice and support to help them navigate the many challenges they face at the frontlines of fighting the pandemic.
The role that HCP’s play at the frontline of the pandemic is profoundly important, especially since they are often the only line of defense between us and the virus. HCPs face extraordinary hardships, and having access to appropriate and accurate information and resources, as well as support, gives them the ability and the confidence to face each day. We believe this digital platform will prove invaluable.
B4SA will share information and guidance relevant to HCPs via the EMGuidance platform, which is only accessible by South African health care professionals. It will also act as a two-way channel of communication with the HCPs, which allow the team to understand and address their concerns or questions.
B4SA and EMGuidance urge health care stakeholders with supportive information and services for HCPs to participate in this collaborative effort, by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
EMGuidance’s platform has a mobile and digital community of over 25 000 local health care professionals (HCPs). Over 50% of practicing doctors already use EMGuidance as well as several thousand pharmacists, nurses and paramedics. In addition, several medical societies, the National Department of Health and medical companies educate and communicate with the medical community through EMGuidance.
The COVID-19 platform will provide four key support and resource channels:
- Clinical Updates Channel: providing the latest South African COVID-19 clinical information, including National Department of Health (NDoH) alerts, digital guidelines, COVID-19 medicines information, local care coordination such as the location of COVID-19 testing sites, information on accessing and using personal protective equipment (PPE), and links to other critical clinical applications;
- Mental Health Support Channel: Support and access to mental health support, through the South Africa Society of Psychiatrists (SASOP), the South African Medical Association (SAMA), the South African Society of Anaesthesiologists (SAMA), the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) and the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG). EMGuidance will serve as a dedicated channel to survey and monitor the mental health status of South Africa’s health care community. It will also be used to disseminate mental health care content, and provide access to professional mental health support.
- Practice Business Support Channel: Providing business resources, including advice on taxation, accounting and labour relations. This is provided in partnership with practice management companies and financial institutions; and
- COVID-19 Chatbot: A dedicated machine learning chatbot which provides information based on NDoH guidelines and local care coordination information. In addition, a specialist pharmacologist is available online to provide guidance on COVID-related medicines queries.
We encourage all healthcare professionals to access the COVID-19 Support Channels within the EMGuidance platform. To download and register on the mobile application click here http://onelink.to/sy896k or visit the website and register here: www.emguidance.com
HCPs will need to input their South African professional registration details to gain access. For support, please contact email@example.com or call 010 592 1818.
INVITATION TO B4SA ZOOMCAST: The Effects of COVID-19 on Mental Health in Business
For Business, the potential mental health crisis stemming from Covid-19 is serious, and will be with us for some time to come.
What is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of South African business, their leaders, managers and employees, and why does this present such a significant challenge for business in the current environment?
Mental health impacts can be cumulative; business owners, managers, employees, workers and their families are absorbing a disproportionate amount of stress and anxiety from a combination of financial and business sustainability and job security concerns, isolation from family, friends and colleagues, together with the toll of the actual or perceived risk of infection.
SADAG recently conducted a survey amongst South Africans, which found that during lockdown, 55% have feelings of anxiety and panic, and 46% are under financial stress and pressure.
Business for South Africa’s (B4SA), in partnership with SADAG and the Psychological Society of South Africa invite you to a webinar briefing to provide insight into the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of business owners, leaders, managers and employees, and to provide information and access to resources for business to help manage this impact.
- Judi Nwokedi, Business for South Africa (introduction and moderator)
- Professor Garth Stevens, President of the Psychological Society of South Africa
- Cassey Chambers, Operations Director at SADAG
- Dr Colinda Linde, Clinical Psychologist, and SADAG Board member
There will be a short Q&A session following the briefing.
Date: Thursday, 7 May 2020
Time: 09h30 to 11h00 (please log in a few minutes before the start of the event)
Dial in: Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/4459725244 (no password required)
R.S.V.P.: Dani Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org / 082 897 0443
Sandra Sowray, email@example.com / 079 167 6863
Let’s approach this topic with compassion, honesty, and openness. We will emerge from this as better leaders, better people, and better companies.
We sincerely hope you are able to join us for this important briefing.
WORKPLACE RETURN2WORK ACTIVITY TRACKER FOR SECTOR MONITORING
A useful tool to enable businesses to track workplace activity in a sector is now live.
- The workplace activity monitor makes use of a quick and user-friendly questionnaire that will provide sectors and government with line of sight on Return2Work (R2W) workforce activity per sector, business and geography.
- Information received back from businesses will be aggregated by Harambee on behalf of PPGI and reports will be sent to nominated sector representatives, as well as the Presidency, DTIC, DEL, DOH and COGTA.
- The frequency of the reports generated will depend on uptake
The steps for a business to participate are as follows:
STEP ONE – Go to https://www.return2work.co.za/workplace-activity/
STEP TWO – Follow the instructions and complete the form. Upload pdf of CEO declaration and press Submit.
STEP THREE – The person who completed the information in step 2 will receive a confirmation e-mail. Click on the link in the e-mail to complete the workplace activity questionnaire.
Please note, this process does not replace any other regulated reporting processes and is not obligatory.
If a sector would like to use this workplace activity tracker for your sector activity monitoring, please encourage your businesses to participate in this information sharing process.
What else is available in order to promote a safe R2W?
This tool is provided in addition to the workplace readiness tools already loaded on the following website https://www.return2work.co.za/ . Part of the process includes businesses uploading the signed CEO Declaration to provide sectors and government with confirmation as to which businesses have completed their R2W planning and risk assessment processes. We see the following three elements as core components of a safe return to work:
- Workplace risk assessment and plan (this can be performed and evidenced in a variety of different ways)
- Symptom checker (there are a number of tools available for use)
- Safe public transport solution for staff reliant thereon
What about the other tools out there?
We are working with the Department of Health, PWC and First Rand with a view to feeding in the reports from this activity tracker into a more integrated model that tracks health and economic indicators per geography on a single country dashboard. There are also some exciting business related track and trace tools under development – more details will be shared as they become available.
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OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS AND GUIDELINES ON COVID-19
All official government regulations and guidelines are available at https://www.gov.za/coronavirus/guidelines