Newcastle mayor Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)
Newcastle mayor Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Covid-19: Newcastle mayor rolls up his sleeves to help fellow doctors

By Samkelo Mtshali Time of article published Mar 30, 2020

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Durban - In the midst of the spread of the coronavirus, Newcastle mayor Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba has taken time off from his mayoral duties to help fellow doctors at the Newcastle Provincial Hospital. 

Mahlaba has also urged retired healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses, to help by joining the fight against the spread of the virus as the country needed their services.

Mahlaba, who is a qualified medical doctor, rolled up his sleeves on Monday and joined thousands of doctors who had reported for duty in the fight against the coronavirus. 

He said that it was important for him, as a qualified doctor, to don his medical attire and stethoscope and immediately hit the ground running by interacting with doctors and nurses. 

Mahlaba also assessed the facilities reserved for patients in the event of new Covid-19 infections.  

“I strongly encourage other medical practitioners and retired medical personnel to volunteer and offer their services to our country so that we can unite against Covid-19. I also believe that we can defeat this virus if more people can avail themselves to serve our country and serve the less fortunate. 

“I personally feel very privileged to be able to volunteer and offer my skills for the betterment of my community. However, the community can support this initiative by adhering to the calls by the president for residents to stay at home. This is a crucial time for the citizens of this country to be united more than ever,” Mahlaba said.

He also bemoaned the large number of people who continued to roam the streets and converge in large numbers, despite President Cyril Ramaphos’s call for people to practice social distancing until the coronavirus had been eradicated. 

Mahlaba, who also usually performs his medical duties at his private surgery when he is on leave, said that he believes people not adhering to the rules of the lockdown could have a detrimental impact on the work of doctors should the virus spiral out of control. He pleaded with communities to refrain from making unnecessary trips.

“I join the many voices who urge fellow South Africans to stay at home, for the sake of the medical staff, who are working tirelessly to minimise the spread of Covid-19. Community members should assist doctors and nurses by not increasing their chances of contracting the virus. 

“If the virus spreads rapidly, then doctors will have a bigger challenge of servicing a larger populace, which can potentially cause a backlog in hospitals. We don’t want the situation to spiral out of control, and we certainly don’t want to become like other countries who have recorded hundreds of deaths,” said Mahlaba.

He further stated that he was adamant that the country could win the fight against the virus, but added that it was up to the country’s citizens to adhere to the measures put in place by the government to combat the spread of the virus. 

“I strongly believe that we can flatten the coronavirus curve. People need to understand that the virus doesn’t move, it’s only the people who move it. If we stop moving, then the virus will also stop moving. I plead with our people to be responsible so that we can save mankind,” concluded Mahlaba.

Political Bureau

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