The Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Employee Wellness Programme hosted an online webinar on: Live Healthy While Managing Your Chronic Illness During COVID-19, via MS Teams on Tuesday, 6 October 2020.
The DUT community was invited to be a part of the online conversation with guest speaker Dr Nkosinathi E Shabalala, who is currently employed by the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Department of Family Medicine) as a Sessional Medical Lecturer. He is also the designated Medical Doctor for the Campus Healthcare Clinic at Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine. Dr Shabalala, as a Dispensing Procedural General Practitioner, has also been successfully running two medical practices, in the Durban CBD and the suburb of Bellair.
Welcoming the guest speaker and the DUT community to the webinar was DUT Employee Wellness Manager, Samantha Rajcoomar, who said that during COVID-19, one of the biggest concerns that many vulnerable employees have is the risk of transmission of the virus in the work environment.
“For many of us the stress emanating from managing one’s chronic illness and that of a family member during COVID-19 is completely acceptable and justifiable. Because COVID-19 raises the risk for individuals with underlying chronic illness and those who are immunocompromised as it can cause serious complications and even death,” she said.
She said that managing a chronic illness may be like a full time job, but the good news is that there are some lifesaving safety tips that will help a person stay on top of their condition while allowing them to live as actively and healthily as possible.
“To equip us with coping skills and tips to live healthily, we are honoured to have in our midst, Dr Shabalala a Medical Practitioner who will impart tips and learnings on this topical issue. He will also help us understand the common challenges that we are all experiencing and assist us manage our wellbeing in a positive and healthy way,” she said.
Dr Shabalala spoke on various chronic medical issues such as what can HIV positive individuals do to manage themselves, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol as well as managing asthma during COVID-19, to name a few.
“I would really encourage everyone to know their HIV status, preferentially you have to test every two months. When you look at the stigma in South Africa, it is bad. Tell people they need to test, without us testing you, you would never know your status and we cannot help people if they don’t know their status. HIV can be controlled, and a lot of people think once you test positive it’s the end of the world. So test and if it happens you do test positive, take your treatment,” he said.
Dr Shabalala also spoke on what the immune system really does which is protecting a person from even cancer itself. He stressed that the CD4 cells are there to protect and govern the body against abnormal cells in the body, so cancer tends to rely on a person’s immune system being affected for it to thrive. He indicated that if people takes their medication and it is well-controlled, they will be well-protected when it comes to cancer.
Rajcoomar thanked Dr Shabalala for his enlightening and helpful advice.
“I am confident that we have all taken cognizance of critical information that was highlighted. I am sure that all of you agree that it is essential that you educate yourself around your chronic illness and understand what it means to be high risk. Also always ensure the information you access comes from trusted sources. Do not underestimate your chronic illness. There is no such thing as being mildly diabetic or having a touch of hypertension or being asthmatic only during the change of season. Now more than ever you should manage your chronic illness and minimise your risk,” she stressed.
Dr Shabalala concluded by saying that his purpose is effecting a positive impact in people’s lives through medicine, which is what allows him to continue healing and helping his patients. “My approach is unbiased, this helps me build genuine lasting relationships with all my patients,” he said.
Contact Dr N Shabalala at his rooms on 031 072 0550.
Dr Shabalala qualified for his MB ChB in 2013, from the Nelson R. Mandela. He did his two-year Internship rotation at Steve Biko Academic Hospital, in Pretoria. Subsequently, he was attached to Rietvlei Hospital (Umzimkhulu-KZN), for his one-year Community Service. As a qualified Grade 1 Medical Officer, he has also worked at the KwaDabeka Community Healthcare Centre, in Clermont (KZN).
Dr Shabalala also has Admission Rights at eight private hospitals, in and around the Province of KwaZulu-Natal, namely Ahmed Al-Kadi Private Hospital, Ascot Park Hospital, City Hospital, Durdoc Hospital, Isipingo Hospital, Lenmed Shifa Private Hospital, Life Chatsmed Garden Hospital and Richards Bay Medical Institute. Having access to these medical institutions allows him to assist patients from far and wide, while ensuring that the absolute best care is given to each individual.
Pictured: Dr Nkosinathi E Shabalala addressing the attendees at the wellness webinar.