Sympathise, do not ostracise - says Durban man whose sister died of heart attack after learning of Covid infection
Durban - As Premier Sihle Zikalala railed against the stigmatisation of healthcare facilities by people who see them as death traps, a Merebank man has pleaded for people to empathise and support those who test positive for Covid-19.
This comes after his sister died of a heart attack just hours after finding out that she had tested positive for the virus.
Solomon Simmadari said his sister, Linda Narainsamy, who was buried last week, had been feeling sick and was tested along with her husband.
Three days later, on July 17, they learnt both had tested positive. Simmadari said Narainsamy, 58, was disappointed by the positive test result and died of a heart attack that night.
Her husband was shocked by her death as he had the poorer health of the two. “She was strong and fit,” Simmadari said.
He said the body was taken from their home wrapped in layers of plastic, and the coffin was shrink-wrapped the day of the funeral and did not come into the property.
They said their prayers outside the gate before she was taken to the Dudley Street Cemetery in Jacobs for burial last week.
Her son Damian, could not attend the funeral as he was in Dubai and could not return to bury his mother.
Simmadari said Narainsamy, who left behind two children and three grandchildren, had a bubbly personality.
He was aware of two other families on the same road who had lost relatives to Covid-19-related illnesses and asked everyone to support each other.
“We need to sympathise and empathise with one another,” he said.
Simmadari said people should not be ostracised because they had tested positive for Covid-19 and that it could happen to anyone as the disease did not know race, class or creed.
At a media briefing yesterday, Zikalala also spoke of stigma, but was talking about people not wanting to go to healthcare facilities.
“We have also noted the increasing stigmatisation of our healthcare facilities. Some people seem to have this false belief that if you go to hospital, you will die. That is not true. Our healthcare workers are bravely fighting this disease, often placing their own lives at risk, and many people are getting discharged and recovering after receiving treatment,” he said.
Zikalala urged people to use government facilities when they became ill. He said the province was edging closer to recording 4 000 positive daily cases of Covid-19; 3 405 cases were recorded on Saturday.
Last week there were 198 new deaths and 21 251 recoveries, he said. eThekwini still led with the most deaths at 345, followed by the uMgungundlovu District with 85.
The province had recorded 614 deaths since the pandemic started, Zikalala said. He also warned people against using alternative treatments and going to hospital when it was too late. Zikalala said they had become aware of this after being given anecdotes by doctors and nurses.
“I want to emphasise that we are not against alternative and traditional medicines. Rather, we are encouraging people to use an integrated approach".