Meet the youth against Covid-19 - 'We don't blindly follow'

16 June 2020 - 08:02 By NIVASHNI NAIR
Ridhwaan Suliman says it's important in this unprecedented situation to use the data, statistics and scientific results to gain confidence in and justify nationwide and provincial decisions as the public cannot be asked to simply blindly follow the people in charge
Ridhwaan Suliman says it's important in this unprecedented situation to use the data, statistics and scientific results to gain confidence in and justify nationwide and provincial decisions as the public cannot be asked to simply blindly follow the people in charge
Image: Supplied

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research senior researcher Ridhwaan Suliman, 33, has been tracking Covid-19 because he found that the raw numbers in isolation do not show what is actually happening.

"So I started turning these numbers into graphs to get a better understanding of the national and provincial trends and to also compare with other countries' trajectories to understand how we're coping. I find that a graphic visual tells a better story and since this pandemic affects us all I decided to share my results on Twitter for anyone who is interested."

"I present the facts in graphs in simple form that hopefully helps people to be better informed, alleviate the fear, and cope with the challenges, including the uncertainties, conspiracy theories and confusion, that this pandemic has brought about."

Suliman said his task is relevant and vital as it highlights the importance of honest and open communication and also shows how facts and figures can provide an unbiased and more complete story.

"We need independent bodies that keep politicians and leaders in check. I also think it is important in this unprecedented situation to use the data, statistics and scientific results to gain confidence in and justify nationwide and provincial decisions as the public cannot be asked to simply blindly follow the people in charge."

Process engineer Phola Kula is part of a team that is aiming to develop the world's first organic sanitiser
Process engineer Phola Kula is part of a team that is aiming to develop the world's first organic sanitiser
Image: Supplied

A "point of pride" for process engineer Phola Kula is being in the global frontline of product development where she is part of Biodx's quest to produce the world’s first 100% natural organic disinfectant.

"And the fact I’m making a real impact right now in the fight against Covid-19 with responsibility for manufacturing our current range of world-class disinfectants," said 26-year-old Kula.

She started working at the local South African biotech company four years ago.

"My role involves manufacturing of non-toxic disinfectants that are used in various industries for surface disinfection. Safety of personnel and protection of the environment is the key driver in what I do and I continuously seek to find solutions that help in minimizing the spread of the virus, thus my role is to apply my expertise in providing quality products that have a positive impact in ensuring safety and compliance.

Dr Sibongiseni Malinga said educating each other and understanding that Covid-19 will still be with us for at least the next 18 months and learning to adapt to the new normal in terms of social lifestyle, health and economically are all of paramount importance
Dr Sibongiseni Malinga said educating each other and understanding that Covid-19 will still be with us for at least the next 18 months and learning to adapt to the new normal in terms of social lifestyle, health and economically are all of paramount importance
Image: supplied

Dr Sibongiseni Malinga, a 28-year-old medical officer at Durban's King Edward VIII Hospital, also uses social media to educate people on Covid-19.

He is at the forefront of screening and managing suspected and confirmed cases.

"Covid-19 has been seen to affect more the elderly and those who have comobidities, so one may ask why is it important for young people to get involved in the fight against the fight? If a young person protects themselves against contracting Covid-19, it means they’re preventing the spread of the disease to those close to them who might be at risk of getting it."

"We are all affected by Covid-19, but to some degree, if we make bad choices, it affects us.

"When this pandemic is finally over, we have a choice on how we will tell our Covid-19 story; whether it made us bigger or better, or it broke us and took away the lives of our loved ones. Choose wisely; choose life and protect those around you."


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