Several Rhodes University academics recently assisted the Department of Health during its mobile Covid-19 screening drive in Makhanda.
Although the majority of the volunteers were from the Faculty of Pharmacy, there was also representation from the Centre for Biological Control (CBC) and the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB).
On the first day of volunteering, the academics went door-to-door in the suburb of Somerset Heights to ensure residents completed screening questionnaires. Once completed questionnaires were collected, residents that qualified for Covid-19 testing were urged to visit a nearby mobile testing facility. Nearly 300 questionnaires were distributed, collected and assessed by the volunteer team.
On the second day, volunteers assisted at a mobile screening location that had been set up for residents who felt they may be infected, based on the qualifying criteria, which had been announced and on social media and other channels the previous evening.
At the mobile testing site, concerned citizens were required to remain in their vehicles to reduce the risk of transmission. Volunteers went from vehicle to vehicle with screening forms for occupants to complete. People who qualified for testing were then directed to the mobile unit so that swabs could be taken. Two of the volunteer pharmacists also assisted with completing the medical forms that are sent, along with the swabs, to the laboratory for testing.
The Rhodes University and affiliated volunteers were:
- Carmen Oltmann, Faculty of Pharmacy
- Natalie Paterson, Faculty of Pharmacy
- Amanda Zuma, Faculty of Pharmacy
- Ntethelelo Sibiya, Faculty of Pharmacy
- Tanusha Dukhan, Faculty of Pharmacy
- Iain Paterson, Centre for Biological Control
- Anthony Bernard, South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity