March 5 marks the anniversary of the first Covid-19 case diagnosed in Hilton, South Africa. What followed was nothing short of carnage as 42 variants wreaked havoc through two waves, the second one infinitely more devastating than the first: countless souls departed, anxiety, fear, emotional and mental Ill health at an all time high especially among first responders, job losses in the millions, bread winners succumbed, livelihoods shattered, and givers have become takers.
Life will never be the same again.
Many lessons were learnt. Value life, live it to the fullest, be grateful, adore family, appreciate friendship, uphold human dignity, share material wealth, mend relationships, seek forgiveness, pray earnestly, walk in humility, laugh much, smile contagiously, have a compassionate listening ear, annihilate greed, avarice and selfishness, discipline ego, be humane, caring and compassionate, reflect deeply, practice mindfulness, recognise silent suffering and intervene decisively.
In the midst of all these challenges, Gift of the Givers supported 210 health facilities nationwide, delivered PPE's, non-contact thermometers, pulse oximeters, scrubs, CPAP devices, High Flow Nasal Oxygen machines and video laryngoscopes. Health infrastructure was upgraded, 10 testing sites with three mobile teams set up, 25 medical staff funded, 320 000 food parcels distributed, 100 soup kitchens assisted, boreholes drilled, millions of litres of clean drinking water delivered, and 101 containers of food sent to countries in need.
We may be at Lockdown Level 1 but any lowering of the guard will bring on the third wave. Don't be complacent, act responsibly, mask, sanitise, practice social distancing vigorously and be careful not to touch your face before washing hands thoroughly. While hoping for the best we have to be prudent and prepare for whatever is coming next.
* Dr Imtiaz Sooliman is the founder of the Gift of the Givers Foundation, the largest disaster response, non-governmental organisation of African origin on the African continent.