April 23, 2020


PARKWOOD – Dr Choonara says she is concerned regarding the preparedness of public healthcare facilities.

Independent public health practitioner and African Union Youth Advisory Council member Dr Shakira Choonara is optimistic regarding the South African government’s approach to addressing the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Parkwood resident said, “For the first time since our democracy, we have seen the government and all departments lead multi-sectoral efforts to come together (Department of Health, Social Development, Education, Water, Sanitation and Transport).”

She also applauded President Cyril Ramaphosa for announcing relief measures early into the response.

“I would, however, suggest that all measures need to be longer-term and sustainable, for example continued quality improvements to health systems, water infrastructure versus water tanks and then monitoring implementation of relief measures is important.”

Choonara believes that for as long as there is an increase in the number of positive cases in the absence of a vaccine, the current lockdown timeline is probably insufficient.

Choonara is currently working on a range of global health projects linked to HIV, strengthening health systems and gender equality.

“At the moment, projects I am involved in are part of monitoring the impact of Covid-19 on people living with HIV but also the impact on the pandemic heightening gender inequalities.”

She expressed concern about the shortage of personal protection equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers. Choonara said that the global shortage of PPEs coupled with unethical escalation of prices, makes this an increased concern. Another concern is the preparedness of healthcare facilities, many of which were dirty and ill-equipped just a few months ago.

During her weekly venture outside her home for essentials, Choonara has observed quiet streets and compliant social distancing from community members.

“I would, however, try to encourage more responsive efforts, finding ways in which we as a community can come together to cushion the blow for others or continue with our ongoing support.”

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