Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital held a mass memorial service for nine frontline workers who lost their lives to Covid-19 and cancer.
One hundred of the staff and members of the community who worked closely with them attended the service and shared memories of their time with their colleagues.
Those who have passed on are nurse Linda Pheiffer, Dr Aashima Narula, Dr Roy Chuunga, Mafanavele Ngongo, Nonhlanhla Nzuza, nurse Charity Nompilo Mtolo, Barry Andrews, senior porter Denver van Eeden and nurse Hettie Ntoba.
Nurse Florence Losper, who officiated over the ceremony, said everyone should cherish the times they spent with those who had passed on. “Let’s continue to strive to achieve their accomplishments, follow their legacy and strive to do our best,” she said.
Jonathan Roberts, support service manager worked with Mr Van Eeden who had worked for the hospital for more than 21 years and lost the fight to cancer last year.
“He was very positive, even through his chemotherapy and hospital visits. He was so focused on the future. He was a true example of patient care, his shoes were shining and wasn’t afraid to show his feelings. He always took on a leadership role. We’re holding onto special memories of him,” he said.
Victim assistant officer at Thuthuzela Care Centre, Lauren Thomas, said the late Dr Narula had been a friend to all she had known and worked with. She died of Covid-19.
“We will miss the morning chats, we were all close to her. She had the most memorable laugh. She was a daddy’s girl and often spoke of her father. You mean so much to us, we salute every hero who has fallen,” said Ms Thomas.
Dr Jacek Marszalek, manager medical service said Dr Narula and Dr Chuunga would be remembered for their hard work and professionalism at the hospital.
Her husband, Dr Iekram Hoosen Alli said she had been a friend to all her patients and would often give free treatment to older folks. “We will miss her, and we appreciate all the hospital has done for us,” he said.
Head of nursing Aletta Brown led the lamp ritual which honours nurses who have fallen.
The year 2020 marked the year of the nurse and “little did we know that the pandemic would hit us the way it did”, she said.
“We do the impossible for the people we serve but some had to pay a bitter price after contracting the virus. We gave them a professional send off.”
Ms Losper added: “May God heal your pain during this team and strength to all those who have passed on from any illness and Covid-19. We remember everyone in our hearts and not forget what they have done for all of us.”