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The Waterfront Rotary decided to lend a helping hand to frontline workers at Somerset Hospital by creating a relaxing space outdoors.


Cape Town, South Africa (12 February 2021) – Spending time outdoors during the pandemic is vital for keeping your mental health up and just to take a brief break from all the chaos that life has to offer these days. For health care workers, time outside is considered a luxury which is why Waterfront Rotary decided to create an outdoor space for staff at Somerset Hospital.

Rotary commented how at the start of the pandemic, we spent time each night celebrating them. As the year has gone by, that has changed. Thankfully, the people at Waterfront Rotary wanted to make meaningful change in the lives of frontline healthcare workers.

These men and women have been under the most pressure and stress, more than any of us could ever imagine.  The most surprising part is that, even though healthcare workers are feeling the strain, they don’t want anything from us; all they want is a change in attitude.

The thing that helps healthcare workers most is the public adhering to wearing their masks, social distancing and isolating at home. These simple steps make a world of difference.

That aside, the Waterfront Rotary reached out to ask what else could they do to lend a helping hand to these hard-working superhumans. The answer was straightforward, somewhere to safely eat and rest for their lunchtime.

“We know that in a hospital where staff are well equipped with adequate PPE, and are able to consistently use it, more of them may get infected with Covid-19 in the tea-room or cafeteria than at the bedside of patients. Indoor dining, masks off, is known to be among the riskiest of behaviours from a virus transmission point of view.

At New Somerset Hospital (NSH) in Mouille Point, staff have asked for a safe and pleasant sheltered outdoor venue where they can take short breaks for refreshment or meals, avoiding crowded indoor settings where virus transmission is more likely.”

Waterfront Rotary Club started engaging with NSH to provide such a space. They have estimated that the cost of a safe outdoor space will be around R40,000. This will include a sheltered area and outdoor furniture.

“Our cost estimate for creating a sturdy shelter plus some suitable outdoor furniture is R40,000. If this initiative is successful at NSH it could be spread across all the hospitals, and clinics, of the province and country.

This can become a resource beyond Covid…helping to protect staff from other airborne diseases, such as TB. Health care workers are at three times the risk of contracting TB than other South Africans, and more than seven times more likely to be hospitalized for drug-resistant TB.”

The Waterfront Rotary is looking to collaborate on this project to show the healthcare workers that they are valued by their community.

“Recognition can be a powerful reward, and perhaps ultimately these kinds of concrete initiatives and support to improve the work environment will make health care workers less likely to abandon the valuable work they do for less risky and better-paid occupations.”

If you are part of a rotary club or wish to lend a helping hand in making this project a reality, you can contact Maryka Vermaak at maryka@chrisfick.co.za for more information.

Sources: Rotary – Supplied
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Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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