Beds for superheroes

Marion Edmunds

Healthcare workers with Covid-19 need a place to quarantine and recover.

At the same time, rooms and beds in hotels and guest houses are lying empty, as most tourism and travel has stopped.

Ubuntu Beds tries to solve these two problems.  

The new organisation is run by Kim Whitaker, who used to work in luxury tourism. She caught the virus, which made her think about how to help. 

So she then set up the organisation to use empty tourism beds for public sector health workers – she calls them “superheroes” – in need of quarantine and rest after being infected.

Ubuntu beds has already organised 16,000 rooms in 1000 establishments across South Africa. More than 300 doctors and nurses have used it so far, and Whitaker says the numbers are doubling every few days. 

Health care workers access the service using a website or WhatsApp.

The money Ubuntu Beds raises also helps keep tourist businesses going during the crisis. 

It’s received R1,2m from private donors, and is raising more. 

“The peak is coming and we are doing everything we can to help the healthcare sector prepare,” Whitaker says.

The picture above shows a healthcare worker from Charlotte Maxeke hospital in a self-catering apartment in Parkhurst, Johannesburg.