Ambulance assistant honoured for equipping schoolgirls with knowledge

Mother of two wins Netcare 911’s Carer of the Year Award 2015

Monday, November 16 2015

Concerned about a dramatic increase in teenage pregnancies in KwaZulu-Natal, Netcare 911 basic ambulance assistant Zodwa Msibi took action.

The mother of two daughters began a campaign to educate female learners at secondary schools about HIV/Aids, gender-based violence, teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

Her efforts saw her win the 2015 Netcare 911 Carer of the Year award at a ceremony held in Sandton, Johannesburg, recently.

“We are very proud to acknowledge Zodwa for her outstanding initiative in equipping young women with valuable knowledge that will empower them to make proactive and informed choices for their future,” says Netcare 911 managing director, Noeleen Phillipson.

Zodwa, who is based at Netcare 911’s Alberlito operations, began her education campaign at a school in KwaDukuza, KwaZulu-Natal. She then took the initiative to Newcastle, where it was so successful that other schools asked her to share her message with their pupils.

During the course of her campaign, she found several young girls who had been sexually assaulted, raped, or physically abused. She made sure that the girls were referred to social workers and that they received counselling and support.

“Zodwa undertook this project without expecting any compensation. Her only motivation was to make a positive difference in these girls’ lives and in their communities. As management of Netcare 911, we salute her tenacity in confronting these problems, which all too frequently result in limiting young women’s potential,” Phillipson observes.

The nominees

“Zodwa is an outstanding example of the meaningful difference one person can make in the community. She, as well as all the staff members who were nominated for this year’s Carer of the Year award and the three other finalists, epitomise what Netcare stands for. They went beyond the call of duty and expected nothing in return, apart from the satisfaction of helping others in need,” says Netcare 911’s chief operations officer, Craig Grindell.

Intermediate life support paramedic Adrian Erasmus was nominated for the award after helping a woman who had fallen victim to an e-mail scam informing her she had been selected for a paid-for paramedic training course at Settlers Hospital in Grahamstown.

The woman left Cape Town on 4 May, having quit her part-time job and leaving her two small children in the care of a relative. She spent her last savings on a bus ticket. When she got to Grahamstown, however, she realised that she had been conned and found herself stranded.

Adrian and his colleague, advanced life support paramedic Mike de Agrella, took her to the Netcare 911 base at Settlers Hospital, gave her a meal and a roof over her head, and raised money for her bus ticket back to Cape Town. She was back home on 10 May, Mother’s Day.

Advanced life support paramedic Tanya Grobler also received a nomination for the Netcare 911 Carer of the Year Award, after she helped a man whose wife and one of his three children were tragically killed in an accident between a bus and three cars on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast.

The man and his two surviving children were injured in the crash, and the family’s belongings were also destroyed in the accident. Tanya and her colleagues at Netcare 911’s Margate operations bought him some essentials and offered him shelter. She also made arrangements with the nursing manager at Netcare Margate Hospital where one of his children was receiving treatment, for him to stay there with his child.

The fourth nominee for the award was Netcare 911 credit controller, Nelvy Mailula, who helped a blind colleague to pass a learnership programme through Netcare’s Sinako Project This project offers structured internships and learnerships, which provide opportunities for people with disabilities to develop skills that will help them to enter the mainstream economy.

At the time Nelvy, who has impaired vision due to albinism, was also on a Sinako internship and, in spite of his own difficulties, volunteered to help his colleague. Nelvy’s colleague dictated his answers to Nelvy, who wrote them down for him. Both men successfully passed the course and Nelvy has since taken up the position of credit controller at Netcare 911, while his colleague is now permanently employed with Prime Cure.

Grindell says that the respective actions of all of the nominees, finalists and winner reflect a sense of empathy and keenness to help others. “These actions serve as an inspiration to all of us, challenging us to make positive differences in the lives of others, which collectively can make an enormous contribution to our communities, and our society as a whole.”

“It is our hope that these awards will continue to inspire our staff to be of service beyond the call of duty and make a meaningful difference to the lives of those around them,” Phillipson concluded.


Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare 911
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville, Thomas Hartleb or Devereaux Morkel
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
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