Sporty doc champions fitness on the frontline

Dr Arifa Parker and colleagues.

Dr Arifa Parker, 31, from Rylands, knows all to well the pressures doctors and other healthcare workers in face on a daily basis.

The last year has been especially tough, mentally and physically, she said.

Like her colleagues in the public health care system, she has had hands full keeping an eye on the well-being of her patients, her own health and that of staff members at the Tafelsig clinic in Mitchell’s Plain, where she is based.

Dr Parker, who recently joined Ommiedraai Friends Running Club, was quick to jump at an opportunity to promote an active and healthy lifestyle among health officials when the City of Cape Town introduced its Live Well programme.

“I was fortunate to be appointed the champion for the programme and to implement the programme for the rest of the City staff.

“It’s basically a programme to boost morale, it talks about healthy living and promotes well-being,” she said.

“As you know, the Covid pandemic has taken a lot, especially from our frontline workers. It’s good to know the signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression and to know who to reach out for for support and help.

“How are we able to look after the community, if we are unable to look after ourselves?”

A few weeks ago, the doc and her colleagues lined up for a fun fitness event to mark the start of the campaign.

“Healthy living doesn’t have to be an expensive affair. It can be can be running in the park, it can be dancing with friends, skipping at home, whatever is easy for you,” she said