I was particularly touched by the story of Sister Miriam Modiakgotla (54) of the Republic of South Africa, because her AIDS, food security ( community gardening!), poverty alleviation and collections to bury the epidemic's dead were so similar in scope to that of my late wife, Allegra Benveniste Honigman, RN,(53) in Hell's Kitchen.
There is something special about professional registered nurses.
Unlike most physicians ( albeit, the Bach playing Dr. Albert Schweitzers DO come by once a hundred years) nurses regularly manage to look beyond their clinics and hospitals and see their duty in service to the patient and her community as a whole.
In salute to nurses, who "get" community gardening as part of the unbroken fabric of caring for community.
Clinton Community Garden
Olifantsfontein Nurse Gets Recognition
March 31, 2004
Posted to the web March 31, 2004
By Jabulani Tshindane
Hard work and dedication to community development has earned a professional nurse recognition by those she has been serving throughout her career since 1969.
Sister Miriam Modiakgotla (54) has been a pillar of strength to the community of Olifantsfontein, on the East Rand.
In her career, she has introduced support groups for people living with HIV and AIDS, ensured that people benefit from poverty alleviation programmes such as gardening, feeding schemes and ensured that people too poor to bury their loved one's do so in dignity.
"I do this for the love of my people and would continue to serve those in need of my help, during my spare time I would move around the community to make sure that people in the neighbourhood go to bed with something to eat," she explained.
Sister Modiakgotla is a nurse at Olifantsfontein clinic and specialises in treating TB patients, making sure that patients complete their course to avoid developing multi-drug resistant TB which is hard and much more expensive to treat.
For these and other reasons, the Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa honoured her at a fully packed community hall yesterday.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Ramokgopa said the Gauteng government was trying to establish partnerships with NGOs to provide primary health care to the people.
She mentioned that Sasko Bakery had also recognised Sister Modiakgotla and offered to provide bread daily to support her feeding scheme.
The MEC said by honouring the health worker the provincial government was showing it would honour the exceptional services done by other health workers as well.
"The Gauteng government would continue to congratulate the health workers, so to inspire them to achieve marvelous work and attract more people to the health workers field."
Dr Ramokgopa urged nurses to work together with government and be serious like Sister Madiakgotla.
Sister Modiakgotla received the Cecilia Makiwane Nursing Award last year and today, she will walk away with prize money as part of the Gauteng health department's ten years of freedom celebrations.