Featured, Membership, Mountain Medicine, UIAA

One of the roles of the UIAA as the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation is to provide a network for likeminded climbing and mountaineering federations. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, and led by the UIAA’s dedicated CCC taskforce, there have been countless positive examples of solidarity and information exchange between UIAA members and partners.

In March, and as China began to emerge from lockdown and recover from its first Covid-19 wave, the UIAA’s accredited laboratory for testing safety standards – Jiangsu Zhongzheng Testing Co., Ltd – made the kind gesture of providing 10,000 PPE facemasks for distribution by the UIAA. Through its Medical Commission, where a number of delegates have worked on the frontline during the pandemic, the UIAA identified areas where the donation would make a significant and positive impact.

At the time, South Africa was still facing the worst of the pandemic, and through the support of the UIAA’s longest standing member association on the continent, the Mountain Club of South Africa, and in particular Medical Commission delegate Dr Eckart von Delft, the Frere Hospital in the Eastern Cape was identified as a recipient of the kind gesture.

Von Delft, whose son Nils is an anaesthetist at the hospital, reported that the hospital served a massive area of the Eastern Cape, with very limited resources, especially surgical and N95 masks. It faced the challenge of being chronically understaffed and ran over maximum capacity on a normal basis. It was of utmost importance that staff were protected to reduce the spread of the virus and in order to minimise the risk both of time booked off sick and succumbing to the infection.

Shipping the equipment and customs procedures proved to be a complicated and timely process. Thankfully the staff at the Frere Hospital have now received the masks. In making this happen, special thanks are due to the director of Jiangsu Zhongzheng Testing Co., Ltd, Mike Qian and his team Clark Lau and Sunny Yu. Greg Moseley, President of the MCSA and UIAA Management Committee member and Dr Eckart von Delft, eight years a UIAA MedCom delegate, played instrumental roles in organising the logistics of the shipment on the South African side.

To discover more about the UIAA’s work and resources during the Covid-19 pandemic please click here.

Main photo: Dr Nils Von Delft (left) and staff at the Frere Hospital

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Support and solidarity from UIAA laboratory in China