Covid-19 not a death sentence, says survivor

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Mohau Rammile

“It is not a death sentence if you test positive for the Coronavirus.” This is according to recovered Covid-19 patient, 48-year-old Bloemfontein resident, Mohau Rammile. After what can only be described as an anxious journey, Rammile decided to share his story with Bloemfontein Courant.

Rammile went for testing at a local hospital on 19 March 2020 after attending a church gathering in Bloemfontein and receiving a SMS saying he should go for testing. Two days later he heard that he had tested positive. “I received my results from my doctor at 20:23. It took me about 10 min to process my thoughts. l immediately went to inform my wife. I wanted to inform everyone who had been around me immediately but my doctor told me to wait for the Department of Health to contact me,” said Rammile.

“Early on 23 March l went into selfquarantine at a safe house. Prior to that, l had been self-isolating as l had a minor flu and in our house, if you have fl u, the rule is: don’t pass it around. So from 13 to 14 March l thought l had a mild flu and self-isolated.” Rammile went for another test on 30 March and it transpired that he was no longer infected. His negative results were communicated to him on 1 April. According to him, he was happy and he felt hopeful, not just for himself but for others as well. “I had the privilege of having a multidisciplinary medical team around me.

We had a WhatsApp group, and they were checking on me daily. The Department of Health, including the Free State MEC of Health, really did a fantastic job of making sure that l was okay. The support l got from my family, our church and friends in the ministry was overwhelming. I know all of them were happy about my recovery. It gave hope that others will recover. It’s our prayer: more recoveries.”

The Covid-19 survivor said he knew then he had to go public about the testing process. “Our church leadership released a public statement in that regard. l subsequently did radio interviews and a few Facebook live videos. The purpose of that was to deal with four things associated with Covid-19, namely fear, stigma, shame and ignorance. “I knew many people will be hit hard by this pandemic, so creating awareness was the most important thing to do. I can’t tell how many calls, text messages via WhatsApp and SMS l received from people who were either infected or affected.

These messages came from all over the country. Something positive that came from all this were the prayers from all over. It made me forget about the TV and radio inserts which reported my story so negatively, even without interviewing me to hear my side of the story. l was treated as if l had been Covid-19 itself.” Rammile said while dealing with his health, he also had to deal with “ignorant social media” as members of his church were being harassed, violated, intimidated and stigmatised. “I was accused by ignorant people of bringing the virus to Bloemfontein.

Someone on Facebook went as far as to say l must be arrested for manslaughter. However, prayer is powerful. In the midst of all of that, l had a positive attitude. After the call from the Department of Health, l knew l had to go public about testing positively and about fighting the virus,” Rammile concluded.

Pierce van Heerden

pierce@mahareng.co.za