By Dale Hes
Nompumelelo Ncube is one of our healthcare heroes working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 fight.
Ncube works as a communicable disease control and outbreak response coordinator. She is employed by the Gauteng Depart-ment of Health and is stationed in the Tshwane District. This means that she is at the very heart of the country’s efforts to control the epidemic.
“We make sure that all the right systems are in place to respond to the virus, that health workers are correctly trained and that we are on the ground doing testing of patients and tracing of contacts,” says Ncube.
She decided to become a healthcare worker when she lost a close friend in a car accident.
“My grandmother, who raised me, was a midwife in the community, so I saw a lot of the issues being faced at community level. When my friend passed away, it made me sit back and think what I want to achieve and how I can help the community. Health-care was the perfect choice.”
Long hours on the frontlines
Ncube has been working long hours, up to six days a week.
“It has been very draining but fulfilling at the same time. It is rewarding to be able to help our President in curbing the increase of infections. It has also been very heart-warming to see the coordinated response from all sectors of healthcare and government, from emergency medical staff, to ward councillors and the outbreak response teams.”
She says that although the arrival of COVID-19 has been scary, she and her colleagues were prepared for it.
“Even when the virus first emerged in China, we were receiving training on how to handle it if it arrived here. So before the first cases came, we knew what to do and the processes to be followed. We had all the necessary protective equipment, training and information.
“COVID-19 has really taken me back to the basics of infection prevention and control prevention. It is the things that we speak about all the time, such as washing of hands, proper cough etiquette and social distancing. Now the rest of South Africa has been alerted to the importance of these basics.”
Seeing patients recover from the virus has been the best part of her job.