Māori/Pasifika man with Covid-19 in Belarus hospital

updated By Tamati Tiananga

31-year-old Hamiora Samuel Charles Jarvis who lives in Polotsk, which is Belarus' oldest city, has been hospitalised with Covid-19.  

Whāngai mother Dr Keri Lawson-Te Aho says, “No visitors are allowed. Zoom with him has enabled us to karakia and talk kanohi ki te kanohi to comfort him."

Dr Lawson-Te Aho, who is a Senior Lecturer and Researcher at Otago University, Wellington School of Medicine, fears for Hamiora’s life, "We understand up to 70% of his lung capacity was damaged."

Hamiora is struggling to breathe, according to his whāea. "Hamiora first started showing symptoms on the 1st of September," says Dr Lawson-Te Aho.

In his own words, "After our test came back positive we were told that in a few days an ambulance would pick us up for an x-ray at the hospital.

"The x-ray revealed how serious my condition was and I was admitted to the hospital immediately," says Hamiora.

Dr Lawson-Te Aho says, “We are devastated that we cannot be with Hamiora. However, Hamiora’s Belarus family are doing everything they can to support him.

"However, the hospital doctors have been excellent in their care of Hamiora."  

Hamiora married his Belarus wife in January of this year. Wife Elena teaches English.

Hamiora Personal Message 

When I first got Covid-19 before any tests were done I thought it was just a flu-like any other. I didn't take it seriously because I had no awareness of how Covid-19 can form. The fevers got worse and still, I didn't think my life was in any real danger until I started to collapse after getting out of the shower at home.

I had never experienced anything like it, my body began to shake and I sat down quickly to try and stop the shaking and calm myself. My vision went blurry and my senses started to go numb. It was one of the scariest things I had ever experienced, and It wasn't the end of it. We went to get an x-ray of my chest done and the doctors realized my case was really bad. They admitted me immediately to the hospital.

If I had known the signs of how Covid-19 can grow inside me slowly I might have gone to the hospital sooner. That's one of the important messages I want to share, to be more vigilant about Covid-19 and understand the signs better. To seek help as soon as you suspect something. Don't take chances with your health. I'm still in hospital and accordingly, I'm on track to recovery but it will be a slow recovery.

My whānau have been on my mind this whole time and their love and prayers have sustained me. During recovery, I've realized what's important and that I don't want anyone else to go through this what I have gone through.

So the most important message I wish to express to anyone listening, please take time to seriously consider the vaccine. I know everyone has their concerns and that's fair enough. But just consider it, it might save your whānau, or yourself from all this that I'm going through. Take care whānau and look after each other.