This week’s Rural Coronavirus Hero is from the Overberg district. Dr Jacques du Toit is the medical manager for Swellendam and Cape Agulhas subdistricts. Dr du Toit and his team have experienced increased pressure in all facilities due to the pandemic. The Coronavirus Hero campaign seeks to highlight healthcare workers and support staff’s achievements, abilities, personal qualities, or victories during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a medical manager, Dr du Toit has always been involved in his community. During the pandemic, Dr du Toit saw the need for a hands-on approach in this predominantly farming community, as they generally don’t have access to the resources to obtain the latest COVID-19 information. Over the past four month Dr du Toit has been educating farm workers and farm owners, shop owners, schools and members of the community on COVID-19, what it is, how it spreads, the precautions that need to be taken and how a positive case in the work place needs to be handled.
Being a medical manager of two sub-districts Dr du Toit could easily have delegated relevant staff members to complete necessary tasks but he actively became involved in all aspects of this pandemic he continuously assists business owners with determining close and casual contacts when a positive case is identified, moves onto farms with a quadbike to explain to farm workers how the process of quarantine and isolation will work should it be necessary, and also assists and advises non-profit organisations in the communities. When talking to Dr du Toit, he indicates that he has had an amazing team who has supported him and the community without end. His staff members have worked around the clock to offer support during the pandemic. In order to ensure they reach the most vulnerable groups Dr du Toit and his team visited the farm’s pick up points very early in the mornings to screen the farm workers, educated them and ensure safety measures are being followed.
Gwendoline van der Westhuizen, Swellendam and Cape Agulhas PHC manager says, “Dr du Toit is a no nonsense medical manager, he reiterates that we need to pay attention to detail and when looking back, that is what has brought us this far. He always gone the extra mile, he has not taken any time off and even worked over weekends where needed.”
Recently the Swellendam Sub-district has seen a decrease in the amount of new positive cases and cases that need to be hospitalised. Dr du Toit says the major decrease in active cases in the Swellendam Sub-district is owed to the whole of society approach which the Sub-district has adopted. Each stakeholder/department have actively played their role in helping the members of their community during this pandemic. Dr du Toit is appreciative of his team and says this result would only have been possible with everyone’s cooperation. “You can’t beat this thing if you try to do it on your own, a hands-on approach and teamwork is very important,” explains Dr Du Toit.
Western Cape Government Health wishes to thank Dr Du Toit and his team for their amazing work.