Azhar Vadi | 25 March 2020
“I’m pleading with every single individual! Do not break the lockdown rules in South Africa. Every person who goes out and breaks the rules is spreading and aiding the transmission of the Covid 19 virus.” This is the emphatic plea of Dr Asma Salloo, a paediatric ICU specialist at the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in South Africa.
Emerging from the streets of the iconic Soweto, the hospital is the 3rd largest in the world with approximately 3200 beds. This facility will be one of the greatest war rooms in the fight against the Coronavirus as it is expected to spread across country.
Doctors here are at the very edge of medical cliff and need all the support they can get to prevent them from falling off. If Bara goes, South Africa goes.
World experience has shown that to flatten the rising graphical curve of the virus, human networks need to be dismantled and as such lockdowns have been institute in several countries.
If we don’t make this collective sacrifice, doctors like Dr Asma Salloo stand to be overwhelmed.
“Being a doctor is an ibadat and a form of worship as we serve people every day,” she said in an interview with Salaamedia. “This is different from HIV and it puts all of us at risk. The personal protective equipment that we have, the PPE, it will be effective to a point but it remains to be seen how effective.”
In Italy alone 23 doctors have died as a result of the Coronavirus, five in France and while 13 have succumbed in China, more than 3400 have been infected.
“It’s a big risk for us as health professionals and we will take the best precautions we can,” said Dr Salloo. “Dead heroes don’t save lives and a lot depends on the availability of PPE worldwide.”
The virus is also expected to disrupt the personal lives of doctors and medical workers exposed to it. Many will choose not to go home and instead rent temporary places to stay in order to safeguard family members from possibly contracting it.
“The Qur’an teaches us that the person who saves one human being, it is as if they have saved all of humankind. We all have the opportunity to do this by just obeying the rules.”