KUFEMA Zimbabwe - Breathe!

Kufema Zimbabwe's mission is to save lives and help people with respiratory distress in Zimbabwe to breathe more easily.

We started out by making an Africa-friendly ventilator (more about that later). Right now, we are focused on helping to train, equip and support frontline medical staff, namely the COVID response teams around the country. These are made up of paramedics, nurses, ambulance staff, and other emergency response health workers. They are the first to visit people with suspected COVID to test and triage them as needed for treatment. 

With the combination of Kufema’s donated equipment and technical know-how, trained COVID response teams can quickly spot and treat patients with breathing difficulties. This means paramedics can undertake basic diagnosis and oxygen therapy treatment in the community, in people’s homes, clinics or ambulances. It’s a cost effective solution and a triple win: 

Early treatment gives patients’ immune systems a better chance to fight off the virus, which means they are more likely to have a complete recovery with fewer complications than critical cases.

Health workers are better protected from exposure to the virus because the PEEP devices used by patients have a viral filter, minimizing the amount of virus exhaled into the air. Response teams can also quickly and efficiently test patients without requiring the prolonged contact they would have on a COVID ward. 

Scarce hospital resources are conserved for critical cases, reducing the risk of overburdening hospital staff and available resources.   

Kufema’s first donations of equipment and training for response teams focused on Harare, as it’s currently the area with the highest number of active cases. This is where your donations have been put to good use, and we want to send you a big thankyou, tatenda, siyabonga! We now plan to continue building capacity and donating critical medical equipment to national COVID response teams in other parts of the country, and to do this we urgently need your support. At present this campaign is our only source of funding. Every donation helps save lives.

There are two low cost, highly effective pieces of equipment that we’re currently donating - thanks to your support.  

1. The PEEP Device

We love it because it’s simple, affordable, and it saves lives. The viral filter and tightly fighting mask protect health workers and care takers from infection. The PEEP device doesn’t need electricity and, due to clever engineering, it only requires only a small amount of oxygen, so you can use it with a bottle, tank or individual oxygen concentrator. 

And it’s remarkably effective. Tests in South Africa and Zimbabwe show positive results in helping patients breathe more easily (through increasing the level of oxygen in their blood). The device is currently undergoing approval by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA). With your support, we’ve donated PEEPs to hospitals in Harare and Darwin, as well the City of Harare and, as funds permit, we plan to donate many more to COVID response teams across the country.     

2. Pulse oximeters

It’s a great gadget. It measures the level of oxygen in the blood without the need for blood tests. You simply slip it over a finger and allow the infrared monitor to give you a reading. It allows medical workers to quickly and efficiently triage patients who need oxygen therapy. It’s an inexpensive but vital piece of equipment for frontline medics on COVID response teams, and they love it. 

To this point the effects of COVID in Zimbabwe have been less catastrophic than expected. Yet, at any point, Zimbabwe could become overwhelmed by this unpredictable disease, and our health systems are seriously overstretched and under-resourced. 

Kufema is positioned to respond quickly and effectively to the changing dynamics of the disease. We have incredible engineers, advice from the top doctors, a national network of coordinators, and the ability to bootstrap and remain agile in our response, as the situation demands. 

Our current focus is to equip and train COVID response teams across the country with PEEP devices, oximeters & other needed oxygen therapy equipment. We’re prioritizing areas with the highest caseloads to start with, and if we exceed our initial fundraising target, we’ll be able to reach more remote corners of the country. 

We urgently need your financial support.

Please hit the donate button, contribute what you can, and share our campaign with your friends, colleagues & family. We need all hands on deck. We are all in this together. Together we’re saving lives and helping Zimbabwe breathe. Please join us!

P.S. And the ventilator? It works! It is undergoing upgrades and tweaks, so we can quickly deploy it and build others more should they be needed. Right now, we need early intervention to save more lives.

Donations

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  • Andrea Shaw 
    • £100 
    • 6 d
  • Anonymous 
    • £100 
    • 8 d
  • flora saxby 
    • £200 
    • 10 d
  • Helen Jackson 
    • £100 
    • 1 mo
  • Cynthia Coles 
    • £10 
    • 1 mo
See all

Fundraising team: Open Source Ventilators for Zimbabwe (5)

Juliet Le Breton 
Organizer
Eastbourne, South East England, United Kingdom
Amy H 
Team member
Binka Le Breton 
Team member
Linda Warren 
Team member
Tim Masson 
Team member
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