Experts ready to assist Eastern Cape in managing Covid-19

Dr Siva Pillay is one of a number of medical specialists the Eastern Cape government has roped in to assist in managing the coronavirus pandemic
MEDICAL EXPERTISE Dr Siva Pillay is one of a number of medical specialists the Eastern Cape government has roped in to assist in managing the coronavirus pandemic
Image: SowetanLIVE

Ramping up the fight against Covid-19, the Eastern Cape government has roped in a former Eastern Cape health MEC along with the department’s ex-superintendent-general.

Both men are medical doctors with a wealth of experience and they have eagerly agreed to jump in to try to help lower the spread of the virus in the province.

Dr Siva Pillay, a health department superintendent-general from 2009 to 2012, will lend a hand to the Sarah Baartman district and Nelson Mandela Bay joint operations centres.

On the other side of the province, Dr Bevan Goqwana will focus on assisting the OR Tambo district’s joint operations centre.

Goqwana was the health MEC from 1999 to 2006 and later chaired various parliamentary committees such as health, and science and technology.

“I agreed to volunteer my service. I was contacted by the provincial government and asked to see how I can help, which I immediately agreed to,” Goqwana said.

He said he would only get a full briefing this weekend on his exact duties to fight Covid-19.

“I am a professional and specialist in the medical field. Even it is small, I will make whatever contribution I can,” he said.

Pillay, who was also a member of parliament until 2009, runs an established early pregnancy assessment centre at the Netcare Cuyler Hospital in Uitenhage.

“I am volunteering without payment. I have some knowledge of what needs to be done to ensure the spread of the virus is slowed down,” he said.

“I will be concentrating on Nelson Mandela Bay. I am just going to be helping. I am a volunteer and doing whatever I can where I can.

“There is a lot you can do in government, but even more when you are outside,” he said, declining to give specifics.

Pillay said it was critical the provincial government ramped up screening, mainly in the Bay.

“But there is no point in screening if we can’t do more testing,” he said.

Pillay said he hoped that screening would take place at every hospital and clinic in the city and eventually the province.

“If people test positive, we will also need quarantine sites. Some people won’t be able to quarantine at home, so we will need more of these sites.”

From Rhodes University, professors Rod Walker and Rosie Dorrington and Walter Sisulu University professor Francis Hyera are also joining the team.

Premier Oscar Mabuyane’s spokesperson, Mvusi Sicwetsha, said the provincial government had used medical experts from various institutions in the province.

This included a team assigned by health minister Zweli Mkhize, medical experts from universities, and doctors in private practice.

These, he said, included Pillay and Goqwana.

“All of them will advise the provincial government on how best to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic so that we can improve our plans to curb the spread of the virus.

“From this team, the government continues getting the best expert advice on the different aspects of the pandemic to inform our response strategies.”


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