Part of the money was given to the Republican Coronavirus Control Fund, the rest was used to buy first express tests and module PCR laboratories.
Kazakhstani businessman Bulat Utemuratov continues his charity efforts during the pandemic and coronacrisis. The philanthropist has allocated the total of 5.5 million dollars to fight Covid-19 through his namesake foundation and the Verny Capital group of companies.
Assistance to people through the Birgemiz Foundation
The principal shareholder of the Verny Capital group of companies made the first contribution of 1 million dollars in the Republican Coronavirus Control Fund. This happened on 20 March 2020 – exactly a week after the first Covid-19 contraction cases were revealed in Kazakhstan. Then the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, addressed compatriot businessmen calling them to help the country in that uneasy period.
“There is no single person in the world now who would be not affected by the threat of the coronavirus infection spread and by the measures undertaken by governments to stop the global pandemic. These are very hard times and we need to survive through them together, helping and supporting, therefore I have taken a decision to transfer 1 million dollars to the Republican Coronavirus Control Fund,” then said Bulat Utemuratov.
Funds of Birgemiz Foundation were used to pay out 50,000 tenge to socially vulnerable groups of population during several months, and to buy medicines, personal protective equipment and artificial lung ventilation devices for hospitals.
First express tests for Kazakhstanis
In April 2020, when there were already over 600 people in Kazakhstan infected with the new type of coronavirus, and screening systems were in deficiency in the country, Bulat Utemuratov’s Charity Foundation has imported 94,000 Covid-19 express tests.
47,000 kits each were donated to the public health departments of Nur-Sultan and Almaty, where the highest number of the infected was recorded at that time.
Tests made in China (where the Covid-19 outbreak started) were certified in the territory of the European Union and were mandatorily validated in the Central Reference Laboratory of Almaty that verified their quality. Following the decision of the Ministry of Health, express tests were sent for the charge-free screening of high-risk groups:
- medical and law-enforcement officers;
- patients with ORVI symptoms and chronic diseases;
- those in contact with the infected;
- those arriving from abroad via road checkpoints.
To buy express tests, Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation allocated 200 million tenge.
High-tech module PRC laboratories
In June, when the number of the infected in Kazakhstan went above 10,000 and the Republic borders were closed, Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation brought two mobile PCR laboratories and gave them free of charge to the health departments in Nur-Sultan and Almaty.
“First module laboratories were developed as late as in April, and only in China. The manufacturer – BGI company – is the world leader in medical research, production of equipment and consumables for laboratory tests. There were difficulties with delivery because of the closed borders of Kazakhstan, with logistics – because of block posts between cities within the country, but the state needed such laboratories urgently. We managed to supply the complexes to Kazakhstan as early as in the beginning of June,” told they in Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation.
Then – at the peak of the pandemic – state laboratories could not cope with the load, and Kazakhstanis had to wait for Covid-19 test results for several days. Therefore opening of new laboratories in the two most densely populated cities of the Republic lifted a certain tension.
Laboratories feature three air-inflated modules, which allows for their rapid deployment and move from one place to another. They are intended not for biomaterial sampling but for sample testing. Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation equipped the laboratories with kits of required agents sufficient for 30,000 tests. The capacity of each laboratory is 1,000 analyses a day with a potential increase up to 5,000. Test results are ready within three hours.
Purchase and delivery of PCR-screening laboratories cost Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation 4 million dollars.