Gift of the Givers: Disaster conference | The Planner

During the two-day Disaster Conference at CTICC (Cape Town International Convention Centre), the Gift of the Givers team, representing various divisions of the foundation, took the stage on multiple panels, sharing their invaluable expertise and insights into disaster response. The foundation partnered with the Centre for Global Surgery at Stellenbosch University to train and educate disaster responders at a first-of-its-kind conference.

It is important for volunteers responding to disasters to be able to improvise and adapt to any situation. Gift of the Givers held its first conference, Preparedness for humanitarian disasters, on 27-28 May 2023 at the Cape Town International Conference Centre (CTICC). Gift of the Givers, who has been dealing with disasters for more than 30 years, felt the time has come for them to share their expertise and knowledge. CTICC, celebrating their 20 year anniversary in 2023, sponsored the venue for this groundbreaking conference.

Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of Gift of the Givers

Real life missions

The two-day event was attended by academics, heads of departments, disaster management teams from municipalities, health care workers and students. It was led by Dr Imtiaz Sooliman and his team, using real missions to teach logistical, medical and ethical principles of working in disaster settings. 

Topics for various aspects of disaster intervention were tackled, including the role of medical teams, trauma counsellors, dieticians, K-9s in search and rescue, as well as war evacuation, hostage negotiations and ethics. The Centre for Global Surgery had an interest in training surgeons to work in humanitarian disasters, where surgical care is unavailable but needed. 

The Gift of the Givers team at the conference.

Q&A sessions

 Q&A sessions covered topics such as:

  • Adaptation and medication in crisis situations
  • Navigating the torso without a compass
  • Orthopaedics out of the box
  • Anaesthesia in disasters: a matter of life and breath
  • Wound care
  • Emergency nutrition
  • What to do when there is no ICU
  • Doctor! Help me! They have no space. 
Overwhelming response

 Dr Sooliman, founder of the Gift of the Givers, said, “There has been an overwhelming response to this conference, which reflects a real need for all parties involved in disaster management relief to be ready to handle a real-life disaster situation should it occur in our country, such as the Boksburg Tanker Explosion and KZN floods. We are grateful to the CTICC for sponsoring the venue that could accommodate the burgeoning numbers that the event has attracted, as well as to the various service partners of the CTICC for sponsoring associated services to host this conference.” 

An honour to partner with Gift of the Givers

Taubie Motlhabane, CEO of the CTICC, responded, “We believe in the great work that is done by the Gift of the Givers, and it is an honour to have an opportunity to partner with them once more. In true Ubuntu spirit, our partners, Bidvest Prestige, AV Networks, ER24 and Evsol have once again come to the party to sponsor various services required for the conference.” 

Taubie Motlhabane, CEO of the CTICC

For more information, contact Gift of the GiversAli Sablay on 082 651 4195 or Emily Thomas on 083 652 0315.