Screening of patients at a Covid-19 Community screening and testing site. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)
Screening of patients at a Covid-19 Community screening and testing site. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

Ravensmead doctors say City of Cape Town's Covid-19 hotspot strategy is a failure

By Mwangi Githathu Time of article published Aug 4, 2020

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Cape Town - The City’s Covid-19 strategy has failed the most vulnerable communities of the Cape Flats, particularly the elderly, according to a group of doctors and community workers from Ravensmead.

Abdul Kader Sablay and Mohammed Jaffer, who both practice in the area and set up the Flatten Covid Task Group, said that had the City and provincial governments consulted with community doctors, the area might have avoided many infections and being classified as a Covid-19 hotspot.

Sablay said: “Upon seeing the spike Covid-19 illnesses among our patients as we entered level 4 economic activity, we also realised that despite our area being identified as a hotspot there was no plan for reducing the infection rate in our area.

“Our plan involved drawing up a task team and mobilising important role-players in the community, in a strategy to curb the high infection rate in the area.

"We would have ensured greater adherence to the enforcement of social distancing and other measures needed to prevent the spread because unlike political leaders, we have the community’s trust. When the authorities responded to us in June, a month after we had asked for assistance, we felt the response was too little too late.”

Jaffer added: “Nobody took us seriously The people dictating policy at the time were leading from their offices. We were on the front line fighting with pen knives, and yet it was us and our families who were being sacrificed.”

Sablay and Jaffer, along with their spouses, contracted the virus, and all except Sablay’s wife, who remains in ICU, have recovered.

Mayco member for Health, Zahid Badroodien, said: “The testing strategy is determined by the Western Cape government and the City delivers specific services in support of this strategy.

“The City has also shared the following information with Dr Sablay: the City has implemented community based teams across all wards and sub-councils to close the communication gap between the political, administrative and community leaders.”

Rachel Windvogel, ANC provincial spokesperson on health, added: “If the government had put stricter measures in place to prevent the virus, many lives would have been saved.”

EFF's Melikhaya Xego said: “The provincial government was concerned more about big businesses closing down rather than limiting the viral transmission.”

Cape Argus

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