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We are not giving up hope

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We are not giving up hope

— Joseph Gabayo, Ambulance Driver (Botswana).
Africa Renewal
From Africa Renewal: 
30 November 2020
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Joseph Gabayo
Joseph Gabayo, Ambulance Driver.

Can you tell us about yourself?

I am Joseph Gabayo and I’m 41 years old. I grew up in a small diamond-mining village of Letlhakane, about 500km from the capital city Gaborone. I currently work as an ambulance driver at Letlhakane Primary Hospital.

How long have you been working as a healthcare worker? What made you choose a career in healthcare?

I have been an ambulance driver for 14 years now. I love my job as I get to meet different people and this enables me to learn from this diverse background, including our clients. My wish was to be a paramedic or to at least have basic healthcare knowledge so I am much more informed about handling patients.

How are you helping fight COVID-19 in your country? How has your work changed since COVID-19 broke out?

Beyond transporting patients to hospitals, my role has somewhat stretched to including spreading COVID-19 prevention messages in the community. As recommended by the WHO, our messaging is on the importance of hand hygiene to fight this pandemic.

What affects you most in this COVID-19 situation? What keeps you going? How are you coping?

As a frontline worker, I worry about the family members I leave at home daily to combat this invisible enemy. What if I somehow get infected and I get to infect them too?

However, what gives me hope is that following laid out protocols like observing social distancing, wearing a mask, as well as proper hand washing are key to overcoming this disease. As healthcare workers, we need to live by these set preventative measures. If we are to stick to this, I believe we are going to make it. 

What strategy, in your view, has worked well in this fight and what has not? What should be done to win the war against COVID-19?

Lockdown is a good strategy that has worked well in my country and my area of operation. My only worry was what happens when people run out of supplies?

What is your message to people in your country, and fellow Africans in general at this time of COVID-19?

As frontrunners in this war, I want to tell my fellow citizens and Africans at large that we are not going to give up teaching people how to avoid the spread of this virus. Stay home, wash hands, keep your surrounding clean. I believe we will win this war.

Further, I would like to encourage people to not give up on doing the right thing to save their lives. Let the entire human race have faith and keep our eyes on the ball to overcome this pandemic.

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