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Durban doctor, 92, says its his duty to help during coronavirus lockdown

Dr PN Govender of Merewent Medical House.

Dr PN Govender of Merewent Medical House.

Published Mar 26, 2020


Durban – Despite the serious health risk it might pose to him, a 92-year-old Durban doctor has courageously vowed to keep his medical practice open so that he can help others during the 21-day national lockdown.

Doctor Neelan ‘PN’  Govender from Merebank, south of Durban, says he couldn’t think of anything more dutiful than to care for his patients. “I am bound by an oath and I religiously follow that oath because it spells out my professional life and my vocation. This is not the first time that doctors are called upon to serve during periods of crisis and I will respect that tradition,” said Govender.

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Although it is recommended that elderly people stay indoors and self-isolate because of their high susceptibility to contract the virus, Dr Govender says he believes providing medical care for others was the ultimate sacrifice and one which he was willing to make. As a medical doctor, Govender is considered to provide an ‘essential service’ and is therefore legally allowed to be operating during the lockdown.

“I am very high risk but I will take the necessary precaution to try and eliminate that but if I am struck by Covid-19, and it should happen that I depart from this world as a result of that, I would have gone very happily.”

Govender, who has been practicing medicine for well over four decades, says that he has patients who are in need of his assistance on a regular basis.

“My practice has two categories of patients, the acutely ill, which Covid-19 patients fall into, and  the chronically ill patients who suffer from diabetes, high-blood pressure and cardiac problems. These people need attention all the time and I need to be there for them,” he added.

When asked about his thoughts on the virus, Govender said, “We as doctors in the medical world, don’t fully understand this disease, That is why people who are not prepared or ill-disciplined run into problems. Until we understand the situation completely, we should take the necessary precautions. Our president has been very vocal on that topic and we need to follow that.”

“I watched a video clip on Sunday and was very disappointed because there were people having a good time on the Durban beachfront. Those are the types of people that will get sick and infect thousands through their irresponsibility,” added Govender.

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