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Mediclinic calls for volunteers

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Mediclinic Gariep Kimberley said the aim was to get a few volunteers who could be orientated so that if the need arose they could be called in to assist on short notice.

File image: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)

MEDICLINIC Gariep/Kimberley has put out a call for volunteers to help during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The spokesperson for Mediclinic Gariep/Kimberley, Denise Coetzee, said on Thursday that the aim was to get a few volunteers, who could be orientated, so that if the need arose they could be called in to assist on short notice.

“We do not have a staffing issue currently and we do not foresee a problem in the short term, but the aim is that if we get to that situation, there are volunteers available and ready to assist.”

Coetzee stated further that the aim was not to get retired people involved, as they were too vulnerable, and also not students. “Essentially, the type of person we are looking for is a housewife, someone who does not work and is available if necessary.”

She emphasised that the work would be done on a voluntary basis and there was no payment involved. “It may be that we never need to call the person in but we would like to know that there is a back-up plan if needed.”

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases initially predicted that the Northern Cape would peak towards the end of September/beginning of October. However, the number of positive cases in the Province, and especially in the Sol Plaatje municipal area, are escalating daily.

Dr Estelle Coustas, nursing executive for Mediclinic Southern Africa, explained that the reason for requesting volunteers was twofold. “Obviously we’d like all the help we can get because of the escalating need, but it’s also our response to people from the community who have asked how they can assist.”

Although health care training would be first prize, it’s not essential as Mediclinic is looking for people with skills ranging from clinical to administration. “We might get to a point where the hospitals are so busy that we need to provide staff with accommodation in the hospital. In this case we’d need volunteers to help with household tasks such as feeding pets,” Coustas explained.

“Before you start, Mediclinic will provide you with a clear explanation of your role and responsibilities. Examples might be if there’s a specific way to perform your role, the location where you’ll volunteer and your expected hours. As things need to move faster during an emergency, we may have to clarify your role further on arrival.

“Many retired nurses – and those who haven’t been working, for example because they have young children – are now volunteering to help with tasks such as access control at various hospitals. They’re also helping at reception, working in the units as nurses, and checking that other medical professionals are donning and doffing personal protective equipment (PPE) correctly.

“Mediclinic will aim to provide you with training on infection prevention and control as well as specific tasks relevant to your role. It’s important that you receive adequate training and feel safe and confident to carry out your role. Never undertake a volunteer role if you haven’t been properly trained. In all cases, you should have a named volunteer co-ordinator who supports you and whom you can contact if any issues arise. Buddy systems may also be set up to support you in your role.”