Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) has to date produced 23 000 face shields and donated thousands of these face shields to the KwaZulu-Natal health sector, Toyota dealers, suppliers as well Toyota staff across the country in its bid to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The first external benefactor was Prince Mshiyeni Hospital in Umlazi, Durban, receiving 900 face shields in April, while a further 10 000 units will be delivered to other hospitals and clinics during the month of May.
The initiative is in line with Toyota Motor Corporation’s (TMC) global commitment to do what it can to help curtail the spread of COVID-19 – which has now become the global society’s biggest priority. TMC, together with Toyota affiliates across the globe, said it was committed to prioritising the provision of face shields to medical facilities and local governments in the front-line against COVID-19.
According to Andrew Kirby, President and CEO of TSAM: “We have long expressed that as an organisation, we are first and foremost a corporate citizen, and our motivation to build and supply face shields to the regional health sector of KwaZulu-Natal stems from the values we hold dearly concerning respect for people, as well as the desire to make a difference in our communities. We hope that the personal protective equipment (PPE) donated will help ease the pressure on the overall market for these products, so that there is enough supply for all sectors in the region.”
When the South African government announced it was relaxing lockdown regulations to Level 4 in May, TSAM made arrangements to supply a further 4 000 face shields to its local suppliers – while the Toyota dealer network as well as Toyota staff received a total of 8 100 units. A further 10 000 units will be provided to 10 hospitals and clinics in KwaZulu-Natal, including Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, Addington Hospital and King Edward Hospital.
Senior Vice President of TSAM Manufacturing Group, David Fernandes, says: “Primarily, our efforts are geared towards helping suppress the spread of the virus, in addition to pledging our unwavering support to medical professionals on the front lines. We sincerely hope that our contribution in this regard would play a meaningful role in curbing the spread of Coronavirus.”
The expertise to design and produce face shields locally was accomplished through collaborating with other Toyota affiliates globally. The brackets of the Toyota-designed face shields have been created to last longer than the plastic sheet that is attached to the frame. This allows for disposal of the plastic sheet and reuse of the brackets – thereby reducing the product’s environmental impact through recycling. The transparent shields produced by TSAM offer protection to the eyes and must still be used in conjunction with a mask.