In North West Province, almost all Covid-19 patients are admitted to the Internal Medicine Department at Tshepong Hospital. It is extremely worrying that at the precise time the epidemic is rapidly rising, that the leader of this department is suspended.

Without warning, Professor Ebrahim Variava was yesterday suspended from his post of Head of Internal Medicine at the Tshepong public sector hospital in Klerksdorp where he has worked tirelessly for the past 20 years. This has shocked his work, clinical, teaching and research colleagues.

His suspension comes at a time of National Disaster when medical professionals, particularly those expert in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with severe medical illness, are most required to treat patients with Covid-19. During his tenure at the hospital Professor Variava has built a superb academic department in an underserved province that trains medical students and specialists and conducts cutting-edge research into HIV and TB.

We feel that the poorly drafted and vague charges bear no relation to our experience of Professor Variava’s conduct and dedication to ethical patient care, teaching and research.

First, as a medical specialist, he prioritises excellent patient care. His dedication has contributed to this peripheral hospital becoming…

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