LISTEN | Good life pays off as retired doctor, 89, volunteers to ...

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LISTEN | Good life pays off as retired doctor, 89, volunteers to give jabs

Octogenarian, who hung up his stethoscope in 2009, elected to help at vaccine centre as soon as he heard about it

Dr Ebrahim Seedat, 89, administered a vaccine to Johanna Maseko, 83, at the Houghton mosque.
Dr Ebrahim Seedat, 89, administered a vaccine to Johanna Maseko, 83, at the Houghton mosque.
Image: ALON SKUY

Between playing golf and volunteering to administer the Covid-19 vaccine, 89-year-old Ebrahim Seedat, a retired doctor, regards himself as fairly fit for his age.

He attributes his strength and resilience to years of exercise and eating healthy.

“I have been fairly fit all my life. I still play golf as a senior. The key is the exercise we do throughout our life, and healthy living is the key to everything,” Seedat says in an interview with Sunday Times Daily.

He volunteers two hours every day to help administer vaccines at the Houghton mosque in Johannesburg.

I was so happy to get my hand in again to do actual injections. It made me feel like I was not drifting away into the sunset and that I am still there.
Dr Ebrahim Seedat, 89

“The concept of providing a service for our community fitted in very nicely with the Houghton mosque providing the venue. This exemplifies the Islamic principle of doing good to your fellow beings.

“My contribution is therefore to make this unique vaccination setup work, and when I feel well enough I contribute two hours a day giving a jab to as many people as possible,” Seedat says.

According to him, about a 1,000 people have been driving through daily for their injections at the site, which opened a week ago.

“The vaccine is the only protection against this deadly scourge. The aim is to vaccinate as many people as possible.”

When Seedat heard about the vaccination site, he “immediately” volunteered.

“They appreciated a doctor being around while other nurses and paramedics are also doing the work,” he says.

He vaccinates between 30 and 40 people on days on which he is not tied up or busy with other commitments.

Dr Ebrahim Seedat, 89, at the Johannesburg mosque where he helps administering vaccines.
Dr Ebrahim Seedat, 89, at the Johannesburg mosque where he helps administering vaccines.
Image: Alon Skuy / Sunday Times

He has injected people from as a far as Krugersdorp and Soweto. Some even come in taxis.

“People find it a different convenience. This is out in the open. You are not in a confined space. It doesn’t take more than 15 and 20 minute before they are in and out,” he says.

His two medical student granddaughters also volunteer at the mosque.

Seedat encourages those who have time to spare, particularly doctors, to help out at vaccination sites.

“I would like especially doctors who have spare time to volunteer, to be available. When you do good to your fellow human beings, you are not only doing good to them but to yourself as well. It’s very satisfying to be in that position,” he says.

“Don’t lose the opportunity. This is such a vital situation in a life of humanity.”

Seedat, who qualified as a medical doctor in 1958, says he feels grateful that he can help at the site. He is also reminded of the time when he was a medic.

“I was in anaesthetic practice for 37 years. I retired in Johannesburg in 2009 because we wanted to be close with our only daughter and two granddaughters.

“I was so happy to get my hand in again to do actual injections. It made me feel like I was not drifting away into the sunset and that I am still there.”

His plans for his 90th birthday celebrations on September 30? 

“There are no plans for anything that I know of. I’m sure my daughter will organise something, but we have to be very careful and not expose ourselves to unnecessary risk.”

Here is what Dr Seedat had to say:

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