by Charmaine Ngtujinazo

LABOUR expert Herbert Jauch has given a harrowing account of his battle against Covid-19, giving hope for many who have fallen victim to the ravaging pandemic.

After being discharged from Lady Pohamba Private Hospital in Windhoek on Friday, Jauch recounted his experience, which he describes as near-death, on camera.

The labour expert paid a moving tribute to front-line health workers who he said, despite not knowing him, did their best to save his life.

Jauch (61) contracted the potentially deadly disease about 12 days ago, and over time his condition deteriorated and had him preparing for the worst.

Prior to his diagnosis, Jauch had severe Covid-19-related symptoms, and had to be placed in an intensive care unit on a ventilator.

“I was on the verge of death for 10 days because the virus completely destroyed my body and I had nothing left to fight back. By the time I went for my test on day five, I was near death,” he recounted to The Namibian yesterday.

Jauch believes he contracted the virus through family members. They have all been tested, and three tested positive.

“Luckily the others only had mild symptoms. With this virus, you never know how it will affect you until you get it. My advice to others is: get tested as soon as you can because if you know your status you can act early,” he said.

He added that despite the stigma that comes with the virus, survivors and Covid-19 patients should not be scared but rather be open and share experiences with each other.

He said the least Covid-19 survivors like himself can do is to help others avoid what they have had to go through.

Jauch thanked the doctors and nurses at the private hospital for their continued support and bringing him back to life.

“The wonderful nurses and doctors saved my life. They are incredible heroines and heroes,” he stated.

He stressed that some people assume that Covid-19 only affects people with underlying health conditions, but that is not always the case.

“In my case, I was never seriously ill in my life. Just before Covid-19 hit me, I was swimming 30 laps in a swimming pool without trouble. When Covid-19 hit me, I lost 15 kg within 10 days and had to learn how to walk from the bed to the toilet. This virus is no joke,” he stated.

Speaking to The Namibian, Jauch’s daughter Utaara Jauch said her father’s coronavirus ordeal was traumatising for the whole family.

She said the family had to prepare themselves for the worst because of how sick he was, but they were hoping for the best.

“We are grateful our father survived. He has touched so many lives and his quest for social justice is what kept him fighting,” she said.

Utaara added that her mother also tested positive for the virus, but her symptoms were mild with constant headaches and fatigue, while the stress of Jauch being hospitalised and not knowing his fate was concerning to her.

She expressed gratitude to the staff at the hospital for their work to save Jauch’s life.

“My mother is still recovering but she is in a much better state knowing that my father has recovered,” Utaara added.

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