Cape Town Family doctors crowdfund for forgotten frontline healthcare workers

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Masks for Medics has been established by a group of caring family doctors in Cape Town in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Borne out of the profound understanding that in order for individuals, families and communities to be kept safe during the impending pandemic surge, it is imperative that healthcare workers on the front line are provided with the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to feel secure and not under threat whilst they do the crucial work necessary to save lives.

Dr Anthony Smith, Dr Lauren Lee, Dr Sonia Hough, Dr Julie Etellin, Dr Sarahan Brophy and Dr Natalia Novikova are the committed doctors who make up the Masks for Medics team. They aim to deliver these services to beneficiaries in the Cape Town CBD, the Cape Flats and in the many township communities. Having all served as doctors for 20 years and tended to patients from every demographic, these doctors understand the value that all people bring to their communities – from the youngest to the oldest.

The Masks for Medics team (From left to right: Dr Sonia Hugh, Dr Julie Etellin, Dr Anthony Smith, Dr Sarahan Brophy, Dr Natalia Novikova, Dr Lauren Lee

“In living memory, no doctor has seen the likes of what has swept the world over the past few months with the Covid-19 pandemic. After witnessing the toll the Covid-19 outbreak has had on China, Italy and New York, one thing is certain, we don’t know what we are in for and need to be prepared to avoid devastation.” – says Dr. Anthony Smith

With the collective knowledge gained from Covid19 experiences around the world, the Masks for Medics team are aware that hospitals may not be able to accommodate all Covid19 patients. Because of this, many patients will need to be cared for by healthcare workers and by family members, in their own homes.

Healthcare workers who tend to patients at home include nurses, care-givers, emergency responders, doctors, mental health workers, palliative care workers, and anyone who is caring for very sick COVID-19 patients in their own homes.  For this PPE and other medical monitoring equipment is required.  The correct PPE ensures that healthcare workers don’t get infected, and also prevents them from infecting other healthy people.  PPE includes gowns, masks, visors, gloves and sanitisers. Monitoring equipment include pulse oximeters and thermometers.

Crowdfunding on BackaBuddy

With Government funding and traditional channels of distribution not covering PPE for healthcare workers tending to home-based Covid19 patients, the Masks for Medics team have launched a campaign on donations based crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy to bridge the gap and provide essential PPE to the healthcare professionals that have seemingly been forgotten.

“There’s been so many campaigns to support frontline healthcare workers in hospitals across the country, which is immensely important. However, With our campaign, we are focusing on the forgotten; the home-based carers, the nurses caring for the elderly who are most susceptible to the virus, the paramedics and emergency response personnel called out to help those in need and the Palliative Care practitioners caring for those on their deathbeds,”- says Dr. Anthony Smith

With their ‘Masks for Medics’ campaign launched on donations based crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy, the doctors hope to raise funds to:

  • Provide the critical PPE which includes gowns, masks, visors, gloves and sanitizers and necessary essential medical equipment such as monitors and thermometers to health care workers, Doctors, Nurses, Palliative Care practitioners, emergency response personal and Carers to the elderly.
  • Training of health care workers
  • To enable Covid19 patients to be treated in their own homes and thus avoid overburdening the hospitals and healthcare systems
  • Dispose of soiled PPE safely

The campaign went live on 14 May 2020 and has thus far raised a total of R120 245.33 towards their fundraising target of R500 000.00 with contributions from 70 donors both locally and abroad.

“As lockdown eases, community spread increases and winter approaches we expect the number of positive Covid19 patients to exponentially escalate.  Compounding this, are the gross inequalities of the South African socio-economic terrain, with many communities experiencing limited resources, overcrowded living conditions and profound vulnerability to the economic downturn this is your opportunity to truly make a difference in your community.” – says Dr. Anthony Smith

Dr. Anthony Smith

Support this campaign on BackaBuddy:

All donors to this campaign are eligible to receive a Section 18a Tax Certificate upon request issued by PBO, The Angel Network.

Donations can also be made via Snapscan:

  • Follow the Masks For Medics team on social media for updates: InstagramFacebook
  • If any doctors would like to join the Masks for Medics team, please contact

Create your own crowdfunding campaign

  • BackaBuddy has supported more than 10 000+ individuals and charities in setting up crowdfunding campaigns for medical fees, tuition and various other causes in South Africa.

For more information email

Learn more about crowdfunding here

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Honoring social distancing guidelines, funds raised by Porky’s campaign will be converted into digital food vouchers that can be redeemed at any local Shoprite supermarket.

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