SABC News is having a special focus on all its platforms on Sunday on the impact COVID-19 has had on everybody’s lives.
Saturday marked 100 days since the national lockdown kicked in as a result of COVID-19.
Mortality numbers are increasing daily and medical staff and other essential workers are feeling the strain both physically and emotionally. The physical and emotional stress of health care professionals often goes unrecognised and is therefore not addressed.
A third of South African doctors surveyed by the Medical Practitioners Society and the International Medical Defense Organisation have experienced a decline in mental wellbeing as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses.
Many will need specialist support to avoid huge bands of doctors either leaving the profession or suffering in silence.
Three doctors working in COVID-19 wards at some of the busiest hospitals in Port Elizabeth share their stories of exhaustion, fatigue, depression, and anxiety during these trying times.
In the video below, the three doctors share their experience:
It’s an unenviable job. Risking life and limb daily. From working in poor weather conditions and being hit by vehicles, to being assaulted by road-users.
That’s the life of a traffic officer. But there’s one fearless Johannesburg officer roaming the streets and highways. 33-year old Palesa Kumalo.
In the video below Khumalo speaks about her job:
Teaching is often referred to as the mother of all professions. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the burden has become heavier. In addition to teaching, educators have to ensure pupils are safe in the classroom and curb the spread of the virus.
In the video below, a teacher recounts the experience of working amid the pandemic:
While South Africa battles COVID-19, at the forefront of the war against the invisible enemy are doctors.
Dr Vusumzi Mehlo, a Clinical Manager at St Barnabas Hospital in the Eastern Cape, has gone the extra mile to save COVID-19 patients, even driving an ambulance during this pandemic.
In the video below Dr Mehlo shares more:
Stigmatisation is another huge concern
Medical experts have warned of the growing stigmatisation of people infected with the coronavirus.
A Northern Cape family has been shunned by a community, following alarming voice notes. The voice notes state that they have tested positive for COVID-19 and have put the lives of all the people who attended a funeral, held at their home last month, at risk.
Petrol attendants have also been affected:
Petrol attendants make sure we can travel many happy kilometers. But never did they believe that they will find themselves on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.
In the video below an attendant shares his story:
The reality of death
29 health care workers have died in the Western Cape due to COVID-19 related illnesses. The province is currently moving through, what it hopes is the peak, and then subsequent decline in the high number of cases. The number of confirmed cases in the province spiked dramatically which put a lot of strain on the Health Department in the province.
Health care workers bear the brunt of the virus, not only to look after those who become sick, but they are also exposed to the virus themselves. Health care workers have also popularly become known as the “Frontline Heroes”.
In the video below a health worker shares how her job has changed, her fears, and her compassion and commitment to her patients: