Obituary: ‘Toni’ Naidu, pioneering matron

2009-03-15 00:00

Matron P.R. “Toni” Naidu was born on September 24, 1939, and died after a short illness on February 8, 2009, just months short of her 70th birthday.

She completed her junior schooling at St Paul’s Primary School and her senior schooling at Pietermaritzburg Indian Girls’ High School in Berg Street. She had an outstandingprofessional record, having started her training in 1957 at Edendale Hospital and graduated in November 1960.

She was one of the first nurses from Pietermaritzburg to complete the midwifery training programme at the new Somerset Hospital in Cape Town. This was followed by a specialised course in fever nursing.

On her return to Pietermaritzburg, she became a sister at Edendale Hospital from July 1962 until her transfer to R.K. Khan Hospital in 1968, where she was one of the pioneers who commissioned and opened the hospital.

In 1970 she was promoted to matron, a post she held until 1974 when she was transferred to Northdale Hospital.

In 1973 she completed a diploma in clinical care administration and instruction and in 1980 she completed diplomas in nursing administration and psychiatric nursing, which supported her appointment as the first principal matron of colour at Northdale Hospital in 1984, a position she held until her retirement in 1995.

During her retirement, she became closely involved in community health care issues and was pro-active in increasing the awareness of HIV and Aids and its health consequences.

She is survived by her son Gavin and daughter Belinda, her daughter-in-law Jyothi, her two grandchildren, Kimrin and Pia, and six siblings.

“Her life bore testimony to a remarkable woman years ahead of her time, and a nurse so dedicated to her profession that in a time of no written rules on patients’ rights, she lived by the simple rule that ‘nursing care should never compromise the patient in any way’,” said her niece, Primi Chetty.

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