They have been on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic and now healthcare workers can enjoy much deserved breaks at a fraction of the cost from the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency.
All healthcare workers can visit nature reserves in the Eastern Cape and only pay 50%.
East London based nurse Nosisi Magijana says she feels appreciated.
“It is a lovely gesture and I suppose it is a great way to let us know that we are appreciated. I am sure those who are able to take advantage of the offer will find it as a great way to destress. They must just stay safe when they go,” she says.
Having worked in the Queenstown hospital during the worst of the pandemic, professional nurse Linamandla Soxa says as healthcare workers they are just as scared of the virus like everyone else, except they do not have the option of working from home.
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“We are also scared, seeing so many people die and some even colleagues has been hard for us but had to face this head on. Most of us are traumatized but we never really get a break. I would love to take advantage of this, but I just do not know when I can get time off.”
Linamndla says as much as the country is going into a third wave now, it is not as scary as it was last year when they did not know how to handle Covid-19 patients because it was all new.
“Last year we knew nothing about the virus, and we did not know what to do, at least now we have a handle on things even though we are still scared of it and numbers are increasing again,” she adds.
Dr Ben Gaunt who is based in a rural hospital in the former Transkei region says it is a fantastic idea.
The ECPTA is showing their appreciation by offering healthcare heroes 50% discount at Provincial Nature Reserves.— Eastern Cape Tourism (@EC_Tourism) June 8, 2021
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Provincial Reserve Guide: https://t.co/Lx5HyExT0E #ECYours2Explore pic.twitter.com/V45YKyYun9
“I think this is great!” he says. “My only regret is that I am not sure about the timing because of my schedule. I think the parks in the Eastern Cape are so under appreciated and maybe those of my colleagues who have never experienced them because of costs can do so now.”
He says the South African economy needs to be rebuilt after the huge knock it took as a result of the hard lockdown last year.
“As we look at repairing our economy, this is a perfect opportunity for people to discover the hidden gems in our province and an opportunity to increase tourism numbers because of the low rate, so this is a win-win for everyone.”
Dr Gaunt says because he works in a rural hospital, the devastation has not been as bad as it is in urban areas.
“Thankfully, we have not seen the same level of chaos that other hospitals have seen, but we still caution people do be safe. There is still real danger, and we cannot get Covid fatigue, we cannot afford it,” he adds.
ECPTA's CEO Vuyani Dayimane says they are in awe of healthcare workers.
"Despite the many challenges we have been through we are in awe at the amount of work, dedication and commitment being put on the ground by countless people in different sectors, all in a bid to keep us safe. Healthcare workers are amongst those that we wanted to thank through an initiative that provides some kind of relief and time out for these heroes of ours, for them to rest and recharge through taking in the natural wonders that our provincial nature reserves boast.
"In essence this is a human move, to say thank you for their commitment as the fight continues and to show our support as we all play our part in keeping ourselves and frontline workers safe as well. Eastern Cape is everyone's to explore, this is a place to rejuvenate, reenergize and re charge with safe Covid practices."