Beauty pageants have certainly come a long way. Testament to this is that Miss South Africa semi-finalists Karishma Ramdev and Thato Mosehle (both 25) are far more than just pretty faces.
Both are pursuing a great passion they’ve had from a young age – to heal and help people as medical doctors.
This year, Karishma started her internship at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital (CMJAH) after graduating from the University of Pretoria last year. Thato, who graduated from the University of the Free State in 2018, is completing her internship by working in family medicine at Klerksdorp-Tshepong Hospital complex.
Both Miss SA hopefuls, who are inspired by former titleholders and medical doctors Rolene Strauss and Tamryn Green, say they’re honoured to serve their country, especially in these trying times.
Speaking to YOU, Thato and Karishma says they feel a strong responsibility to raise awareness about the severity of the pandemic.
“People should see what’s happening in the hospitals in order to take it seriously,” Thato, who’s from North West province, tells us. “Every day is a horror. But it’s also an honour to serve my country in this capacity at the beginning phases of my career.”
“We tend to be understaffed because our colleagues are
testing positive [for coronavirus] and that means they have to take time off
from work,” Karishma adds. “And as many other cases come in every day, more
hospitalization is needed and the number of patients is increasing, so it’s
been a strain on the healthcare force.
“We try to do these little things that keep us just on the border of happiness.”
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Getting all dressed up in PPE to go and take bloods from a suspected COVID patient in isolation. I was so nervous and had a sister who was trained on how to “don” the PPE teach me how to do it. I had a long chat with the patient and tried to make her feel less bored as she hadn’t seen anyone besides medical professionals in days whilst awaiting her results. Thank you to everyone who has been donating masks and PPE to all those who need it. We appreciate it!?? #medicaldoctor #intern #covid19 #ppe
Karishma, who’s from KwaZulu-Natal, says that she’s seen
patients fighting for their lives in ICU beds. But she’s also seen some heart-warming
cases of patients coming off their ventilators and recovering despite the odds.
The virus has also had an impact on Karishma’s personal life.
“My friend who’s 24 years old ended up with an enlarged heart after having Covid-19. Her heart is enlarged because of this virus, so it’s a very serious illness,” she says.
“When we’re healthy, our hearts usually beat from a rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute when we’re resting. Hers was at 150, which is completely abnormal. She was very sick.”
Thato too has had experience with the virus in her private life. Her mom, who’s in the police force, and her uncle, a lecturer, have both experienced symptoms of the virus.
“My mother herself had the virus. Because she had mild symptoms, I didn’t post about it on social media,” Thato says, pausing to gather her emotions.
“I moved out two months ago because I didn’t want to be the reason that she got the virus. But she’s also an essential worker.
“I kept telling her she’d be fine but deep down I know how this thing can be so unpredictable. You could be fine today and then tomorrow have a clot in your lung and just pass on. She’s now back at work after being in isolation.”
Both says they’re grateful for the alcohol ban because of the drastic decline in trauma cases.
This is an exhausting time for both of them, physically and emotionally. Thato says she lives for her naps in-between shifts, while Kashima, who’s on a week’s leave, plans to just rest.
“All of us need to sanitize and wear our masks,” Karishma says. “I’ve seen some people not wearing their masks.
“Do your bit not just for yourself and your family but for someone else within your space as well. You might not die from it but someone else’s family member might because they don’t have enough immunity against it.”