Rural Hero – Heidi Abrahams plays key role at George Hospital during Covid-19
Heidi Abrahams is a proud George resident who works at George Hospital in Supply Chain Management (SCM), an integral part during COVID-19. Apart from daily supply chain management duties, the pandemic brought added pressure in procuring, relocating, moving and setting up equipment.
Heidi says that although she did not directly engage patients, she felt the pressure and sometimes felt overwhelmed since her core function was to make sure all the equipment needed to respond to COVID-19 is available and in good condition. With the pandemic and the opening of COVID-19 wards, medical equipment was top priority and needed to be procured as this impacted directly on patient care.
“Supply Chain Management at George Hospital is like a small family. Yes, we have our differences, but we never go to bed angry.” She adds that during this period they all helped and supported each other, whether in Procurement, Assets, Warehouse Management or Transit.
“We have a very strict, but kind-hearted Deputy Director, Ms Sharmaine Janki. She is a mother to all of us in SCM. We received the best support, care and guidance from her and the other executive managers. I must salute them for all the daily updates we received on COVID-19 matters. Daily morning huddles with the team helped us with our anxiety and addressing our fears or concerns for the day.”
Her manager adds that Heidi has been instrumental in locating, assisting and moving equipment for the setup of the COVID-19 ICU, the Testing and Triage Unit, hiring containers for storage of the Testing and Triage building, and physically moving furniture and equipment to containers. Heidi also played a key role in assisting with auditing of laptops and verifications with information management, physically offloading 30 beds received from Cape Town and exchange of beds in COVID-19 ICU, numerous other administrative tasks and urgent procurement of COVID-19 capital equipment.
“With COVID-19 being relatively unknown, I was scared. Since the lockdown period started on 27 March 2020, I was extremely concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on my health and that of my kids and family. But I also love my job and am passionate about making a difference. I will do this over again in a heartbeat!” says Heidi.
When asked what she would like to communicate to Western Cape residents and fellow colleagues, she says: “It can be tough to stay motivated when all the days blend into one. You might feel lucky to still have a job, yet still struggle to concentrate on tasks or maintain enthusiasm for your work. Even responsibilities you once enjoyed can lose their sizzle.” Her advice is to take it one day at a time, surround yourself with positivity, believe in yourself, acknowledge your positive attributes, recognise your progress, visualise accomplishing your goals, be kind to yourself, and don’t compare yourself to others.
Heidi is one of many who have gone beyond the call of duty when it was needed most. This hails her a true Rural Hero. Western Cape Government Health would like to thank Heidi and all her colleagues at George Hospital for their dedication, passion, and hard work.