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Living garden to remember fallen heroes

SA healthcare workers – the last line of defence

A memorial garden honouring frontline workers who have passed on in the fight against Covid-19 was opened at Durban’s Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital on Thursday, December 31 2020. Picture: Supplied

A memorial garden honouring frontline health workers who have passed on in the fight against Covid-19 was opened at Durban’s Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital on New Year’s Eve.

The living garden was opened in memory of fallen heroes, Thembisile Mathe, who worked as a registered nurse at the hospital, credit controller Asha Munilall and enrolled nurse Kogilambal Reddy. The three women, who were the first employees of the hospital to succumb to Covid-19, passed away between December 24 and 30, 2020.

In remembering and honouring his colleagues, Heinrich Venter, the hospital’s general manager, expressed his deep sadness at the passing of the three women, who he said were highly respected and much-valued colleagues.

Fallen heroes

“Today we pay tribute to our colleagues, fallen heroes in combatting Covid-19 at ‘The San’. As frontline workers they dedicated their lives to saving humanity. We honour them and will dedicate this garden to the sacrifice they made. Look after each other, look after your family and look after your own wellbeing and health. We are the last line of defence,” he said.

Registered nurse and practising midwife, Thembisile Veronica Mathe, who passed away on December 30, had worked at St Augustine’s for more than 12 years. The 60-year-old was known as a visionary and strategic thinker who will be remembered for her innovative nature and creativity. Her colleagues described her as a true professional who generously shared her knowledge, expertise and skills. She hails from KwaDumisa, a village on the KZN south coast.

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Credit controller, Asha Munilall was a long-standing hospital employee with a proud track record of more than 25 years. Asha, who was 57 years old, was described as a wonderful human being and a devoted mother, wife, sister, aunt and grandmother.

Kogilambal Sandra Reddy, described as an excellent enrolled nurse, worked in the ICU. Sandra, who lived in Chatsworth, recently completed her bridging course to become a registered nurse and was awaiting her results. She started employment at the hospital about two months ago through an agency. She leaves behind two young daughters aged 10 and 16.

“Every single life lost during this devastating pandemic is one too many,” said Craig Murphy, regional director coastal of Netcare. “Losing our own people who have valiantly fought what is an unseen enemy in this time, is nothing short of tragic.

“I wish to extend my most heartfelt condolences to the family members and friends of Thembisile Mathe, Asha Munilall and Kogilambal Sandra Reddy. They are uppermost in our minds and prayers.”

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