Dr Yenzi Ngema with her colleagues at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. Picture: Supplied
Dr Yenzi Ngema with her colleagues at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. Picture: Supplied

Doctor creates tangible way to thank the medics on Covid-19 frontline

By Nathan Adams Time of article published Sep 20, 2020

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This initiative seeks to collect public donations via the BackaBuddy crowdfunding website and then pass this on to the healthcare workers.

Cape Town - With many people wanting to show their gratitude for those healthcare and essential workers on the front line of the Covid-19 pandemic, now there is a more tangible way to "thank the medics".

Dr Yenzi Ngema, who’s specialising in orthopaedic surgery at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, started the #Thankthemedics campaign.

This initiative seeks to collect public donations via the BackaBuddy crowdfunding website and then pass this on to the healthcare workers.

Funds raised by Ngema’s crowdfunding campaign go toward gifting vouchers to healthcare workers around the country. Each person will receive two vouchers – one for themselves and one to “pay forward” to another health-care worker who bravely fought the Covid-19 virus alongside them, such as cleaners, porters or ambulance drivers.

Beneficiaries will be selected randomly by BackaBuddy, using Vula Mobile’s database of doctors, nurses, ambulance workers and paramedics. To be eligible for a voucher, health-care professionals and workers need to be registered on Vula Mobile.

Ngema said: “It’s a R250 voucher and beneficiaries will be randomly selected. I think everyone in their hearts wants to say thank you and there is no small amount... verbal thank you’s also go a long way and this is another way to give back.”

To date just over R3 000 has been raised and set a target of R250 000 has been set.

Dr Yenzi Ngema, who’s specialising in orthopaedic surgery at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, started the #Thankthemedics campaign.

At the start of the lockdown, the clapping to and playing of the national anthem was an emotive, daily reminder that there were men and women putting their own lives at risk to help and nurse others.

It’s often a thankless and dangerous job, especially in Cape Town where violent attacks on ambulance personnel and medics is a reality. On Friday, a male and female paramedic were attacked while responding to a call out in Ocean View at around 3am. The paramedics were held at gunpoint, but were unharmed and the suspects fled.

Communications Officer for Emergency Medical Services & Forensic Pathology Services Deanna Bessick said last year, “the total staff attacks stood at 30 and for the period January-18 September 18, 2020, we have already had 46 attacks.”

The Western Cape was for many months the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic and saw a surge in cases before other provinces. Doctors, nurses, porters and cleaners at the city’s hospitals were also putting their lives on the line throughout the pandemic.

Dr Sicelo Mkhize is a medical officer based at the orthopaedic department at New Somerset Hospital. He supports Ngema’s #Thankthemedics initaitive. “For me, the colleagues I want to put the most emphasis on the ones who are often less appreciated. So that’s the nurses, the cleaning staff and the porters, those guys really put themselves on the line to try and deliver the best service they can." | Weekend Argus

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