My name is Zolelwa Sifumba. I am 22 year of age and am originally from East London in the Eastern Cape. I’m a 4th year medical student at the University of Cape Town. At home I am the eldest of 3 children, parents are married and my father is a gynaecologist and mother works at the municipality in East London.
Until this point my degree has been quite hard but I have been able to pull through. I spent my junior school years attending school in East London then spent my high school years at a boarding school in Kwa-Zulu Natal. I am HIV negative; I have never had TB before or any other serious illnesses.
I contracted TB while doing clinical work in the wards of GF Jooste Hospital in Mannenburg, Cape Town. Many of the people that walk into Jooste have a cough that has either not been investigated or has been diagnosed as TB but just don’t care.
Infection control at some of the hospitals we work in is not really strict, there are masks that are to be worn to protect ourselves from TB but in many hospitals either they are hard to find, they run out of them for the month or they just fail to provide them for us and there is the common misconception that health care workers are somehow immune from TB so not many people make use of the masks. There is some sort of culture that is against the wearing of masks and early in our medical careers, we as students are exposed to this culture.