The frontlines of a GP practise

Doctor Gardens

Patients may tire of hearing more talk of COVID much is published in the media . My blog today focuses on up to date dealings of what it means to be a GP so patients can envision up coming health care visits in the coming year. The good  news is that it’s not all doom and gloom. I’m not your emergency personnel with a bat suit on and riot looking gear but instead may don a surgical mask to see you when I examine you and will sit 2 meters away in a well ventilated room to take a history , so for the upcoming winter that means bring your jacket to the surgery as there may be more of a draft in the room than usual but it helps ensure your safety . Apart from that things are the same and I am here to give sound clinical judgement .  Also , if people have wanted or needed to be tested ( teleconsults ), they have been incredibly brave and pragmatic in the face of the unknown . This is impressive and awe inspiring .

My first day back to the office after lockdown was somewhat different from the usual:

After a short navigation in my car to my office (fearful of walking deserted streets with a laptop case over my shoulder ), I said hi to the guards at the Mount Nelson next door. The fairly relaxed approach to entering via the boom and a friendly salute from the guard hut was not available as the steel gates were shut .

I think the guards were reticent to come out . Leonard my favorite guard with on tea break , and in his place a slightly younger and far less jovial substitute peered out . All are fearful I was then reminded of the perfect quote from my kitchen wall chalkboard we’d recently etched in with some blunt chalk. My husband had found it on an email from Pitchoulik a jeweler company .
‘’If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you. If you can trust yourself when all doubt you but make allowance for their doubting too. If you can wait and not be tired of waiting. If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run , yours is the earth and everything that’s in it. ‘’ Rudyard Kipling .

So in conclusion as health care workers in Africa we have at our disposal the knowledge and experience of prior epidemics -notably unique to us are the HIV epidemic where roughly 126,755 thousand people lost their lives and TB .

We are in the business of safe health care , not only trying to provide clinical judgement and diagnoses but also in the business of keeping our heads in a time of crisis . I was recently reminded of a recent talk I attended at my daughter’s school (which is also available on TED) entitled ‘Akashinga : the brave ones . A not unpleasant looking gentleman that was an ex marine with a powerful Aussie accent addressed parents and had also addressed the girls that same afternoon about his investment in training a women -only anti poaching unit .It was an inspiring talk and there were few dry eyed audience members left at the end of the talk but most importantly it was captivating, energetic and I thought of it recently in light of the kind of energy we are needing to pull ourselves up from the trenches of crisis amidst downing of tools and stalling our workforce . We truly have to be the brave ones now and forge onward.

As doctors we are taught weekly the ins and out of wearing PPE . In a nutshell this is at the moment recommended to be a surgical mask and an n95 only if performing testing procedures – this will be done at the private labs like PathCare .All patients are presumed to be possibly infectious therefore universal hygiene measures are important such as hand washing and distancing . Cyril has detailed the 20 second rule and if available alcohol solution at 70 percent . We do this.

This has always been available so we are very familiar with these processes , and will respond accordingly.

If you are in need of any help please call us we are as your local health care worker here to help and do all the usual duties we are accustomed to do , pandemic or not . We are trained for medical management and are keeping abreast of all new development s.Update to follow by Thursday 23 RD April from the governments head of the response Prof Salim Abdool Kariem.