Medical professionals have been at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic, not only working directly with patients but also by educating the community about the new normal and terminology of the coronavirus.
Among those was Dr Mathobela Matjekane, chief executive of Clinimed, based in Khayelitsha and Mandalay, who has been using indigenous languages in video content to decode the often difficult medical jargon.
In the midst of the doom and gloom surrounding the country, Dr Matjekane went the extra mile and set up an initiative to simplify the terminology that was new to everyone.
“When the coronavirus started, there was a big gap between us and those who have never done medicine. I and some of my colleagues decided to educate our people about this and how to interpret Covid-19. We had to translate all the terms into African languages. It wasn’t easy but we wanted people to understand why they must change, why they must adhere to protocols, why they must wash hands and wear face masks so that it makes sense to them. We wanted people to adapt to the new normal,” she told Vukani.
She believed her initiative worked wonders because many of her patients came back to praise her. “The message was positive and helped a lot. Many could attest to our work. It was not only through video but we also went out there to people. We reached out to give advice and people were happy,” she said.
But through he work, she was exposed to Covid-19 and contracted the virus in December. Unlike others, she said her recovery took three weeks. “First I felt it was just a bad flu that is not severe. But I felt all the symptoms and it became serious.I had a sore throat, loss of smell, no appetite but I had to eat because some of the meds needed me to eat and fatigue, coughing. I realised it must have been Covid-19. I went to the test and the results came back positive. I had to sit at home and do what is necessary including steaming that I believe also played a huge role for my recovery. I had to fight the monster that I wouldn’t wish for anyone. At the time what stood out was the shortness of breath. I was gasping for air after walking a few steps.But here am I today,” she said.
With the talk of the third wave, Dr Matjekane warned people not to take the risk of contracting and spreading Covid-19 lightly.
She called on people to continue taking precautions and practising social distancing. “I hope that we can continue to practise all the protocols. It was a challenge for me to fight the monster. All I can say to those who still believe that Covid-19 is not real, it is real. If you don’t care about yourself, you are risking other people’s lives, your children, friends and others.”
On vaccines, she said she cannot wait for it to be rolled out as long as it is the right one. “Our expectation is that it will protect us,” she said.
Vukani was able to track one patient by the name of Zizi who said he was a patient of Dr Motjekane. “She is amazing. She is down to earth and calm. She helped me a lot. With her you won’t go wrong,” he said.