Alternative Care Centers saving lives of Covid-19 patients

Johannesburg – The cries for help from desperate Covid-19 patients and families tugged at the heartstrings of Specialist Physician Fatima Lambat – who with the help of the Gift of The Givers organsition set up a care facility in Lenasia.

The Nurul Islam Covid-19 Care facility has had zero fatalities and have sent 25 patients home in better health since their first intake at the beginning of July 2021.

Lambat said they have 20 beds and as of Thursday they had 16 patients.

Lambat halted her services at Lenmed Ahmed Kathrada Hospital to head up the care facility together with other medical staff, a total of twenty doctors, the majority of them juniors, and five senior doctors – all on a voluntary basis.

She said the need for the facility was dire as she had been doing homecare for many since the pandemic outbreak last year March.

“People were crying. And with the third wave it was just devastating. We needed one place to treat the emergency disaster. People also can’t all afford to go to Private Hospitals – which are just as burdened with the pandemic’s third wave. Here they offered free treatment,” she said.

She was ecstatic that there had been zero fatalities and said the centre will shut down as soon as the wave subsides.

“We will set it up again if the need arises,” she said.

Pulsate Ambulance
Pulsate Ambulance

The gift of the givers Lenasia facility was a request of medical personnel. Too many homecare patients and couldn’t get beds

Founder of Gift Of the Givers, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said they sponsored the initial funding for the car facility, but that it was the community of Lenasia that is keeping it going.

He said there have been many request for such facilities but 31 conditions needed to be met before it could be approved.

“They met all these conditions. There has to be 24hr care, a physician, general practitioner, nurses, physio therapist, care givers and cleaners. The Hall had to be in good condition with no dampness, good ablution facilities, good care for patients as well as care for medical personnel. Patients must be referred by a doctor. No walk ins, No crowds, No family members, 24 hr security and had it to be open to all religions and people and races – even though it’s a mosque hall, patients need to be accepted whether they have a religion or not.

“The Facility can’t be in private residential area. This will cause anxiety and worry. It must be where there’s businesses where there are no houses around, no chance of spread and contamination.

“It’s doing a phenomenal job for home care oxygenation and hospital admission. We will save lives and prevent people going to hospital. People are scared to go hospital because they believe they may die. And there’s a big anxiety so we trying to avoid that,” said Sooliman.

He said the organisation provided beds, scrubs monitors, PPE and oxygen concentrators while food, bedding and curtains is provided by the community.

“Fogging of kitchen and sanitising is done every day and they have a dedicated ambulance service,” said Sooliman.

In Norwood, The Muslim Association of South Africa (MASA) also converted a clinic into a Covid-19 patient care centre, MASA Medpark, at the end of June this year, to help fight the disease in the area.

MASA chairperson Yaseen Theba said in a statement others may open as well.

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