COMMUNICATIONS specialist and veteran news editor, Namela Henry, passed away on Thursday afternoon, at the Infectious Disease Hospital, due to COVID-19-related complications.
Condolences have poured in from members of the local media fraternity. Henry, 63, died two weeks after she was admitted to hospital. She leaves to mourn her three children and numerous grandchildren.
According to her son, Allair Henry, she was admitted to the hospital on March 11 when her symptoms worsened a few days after she had first tested positive for the virus.
She was eventually transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) last Friday.
“She was tested like the Monday but then she started to get worst and so she was admitted to the hospital on the Thursday. Then when she started to get shortness of breath then she went into the ICU,” he explained.
Allair said he was in constant contact with his mom during her time at the hospital; however, he had not spoken to his mom since Monday after she became unresponsive.
“I used to talk to her on the phone actually every day. But then she had a heart attack on Monday and she went into a coma, so we couldn’t speak to her after that. But the doctor was giving me updates,” he said.
Allair related that he got the news of his mother’s passing at 12:45 hours on Thursday, when he was contacted by her doctor. He commended the care his mom received at the hospital saying: “The hospital did good, no doubt about it.”
Describing his mother, Allair said: “She never did anyone any wrong and she loved her kids and would talk about us all the time. Her whole life she talked about her kids.”
The Guyana Press Association (GPA), in a statement said, Namela, as many would remember, was known for her jovial and caring attributes.
“She would always be remembered for being strong about her opinions and views and for nurturing those under her wings,” he said.
Namela worked at a number of media houses including the LRTV News in Berbice, HBTV Channel Nine and First Look, Guyana Chronicle and the Department of Public Information (DPI).
She also worked as a public relations officer for the Ministry of Legal Affairs, was a former VCT counsellor at Artistes in Direct Support and a former trustee for the Society Against Sexual Orientation and Discrimination (SASOD).
In a statement expressing condolences on her passing, SASOD said her contributions to the organisation were too numerous to mention.
“Namela was empathetic and always willing to lend a helping hand to support the LGBTQ+ movement. Before resources became available for office space, Namela opened her home in Charlotte Street as a venue to host board meetings and gatherings for members of SASOD,” the statement said.
SASOD highlighted that her work with the LGBTQ+ community included founding “Rainbow House”, a now defunct organisation which provided short-term housing for homeless LGBTQ+ youth. Many also took to social media to express their condolences on her passing.
“Namela was always a nice person to have a good gyaff with and was always willing to share her knowledge and experience in the media field. She will be missed and I know she was big on family and always spoke about her children and grandchildren, so I extend my sympathy to them and her other relatives and close friends,” Journalist and Owner of News Source, Gordon Moseley, said on his Facebook page.