As South Africa continues to fight the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic and fears of a fourth wave surface, Dr Davianne de Bruin says the public’s responsible actions are critical when it comes to saving lives.
Dr de Bruin has worked at the Western Cape’s Brackengate Hospital of Hope during most of the pandemic.
The field hospital was commissioned in July 2020 to ensure the province’s healthcare system could respond during COVID-19 peaks. Since then, its employees have saved thousands of lives. In its first year, it recorded 4 346 admissions, of which 3 390 recovered and 533 were transferred to tertiary institutions for further care.
After her nine-hour shifts, Dr de Bruin is relieved when she can go home to rest. Working on the frontline, her hope for each day is to save lives. Her hardest moments are when she hopes a patient will recover, but they do not. “It’s really not easy. But what brings me joy, is watching those who do recover and getting to tell them that they’re going home to their loved ones.”
Healthcare workers, who put their lives on the line daily, need the public’s support, stresses Dr de Bruin.
“People can support us by getting vaccinated. This virus is vicious and we can’t predict how it will affect you. Vaccination is your best weapon to fight it.”
The public can also support healthcare workers by continuing to practise safe behaviour and remaining vigilant. Stick to the basics by wearing a mask, social distancing, sanitising your hands and avoiding crowds, she says.
“Being vaccinated does not guarantee that we will not get COVID-19, but it can prevent severe disease that can result in hospitalisation and death. In the greater scheme of things, vaccines help to limit the burden of disease, not only for the public, but for the healthcare system and workers too,” says Dr de Bruin.
She stresses that without the public’s support, overcoming the pandemic will not be easy as healthcare workers are experiencing burnout and exhaustion. By vaccinating, the public can help to relieve the daily pressure they face.