THE TIME TO CARE FOR THE PANDEMIC FRONTLINERS WHO CARE FOR US

“It is the good fortune of all of us that we are witnessing several such people around us who are working round the clock to serve others, to nurse the sick, to feed the hungry, to clean a hospital, to maintain law and orders on roads. To India and outside of it, every such person is worthy of praise, worthy of a salute.”- The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi said, on the occasion of Buddha Purnima.

Our usual busy lives have been massively disrupted due to vigorous exposure to SARS-CoV-2. “Work from home” is a new normal for all workers globally.

On the other hand, the graph of affected people is going up rapidly. Hospitals are running out of beds, PPE for health workers, and other essentials.

Amidst surging this crisis, getting into a battle with Covid-19 is very dicey for the frontline workers like doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other caregivers.

Yet they have sacrificed their comfort without worrying about anything and have been working all day and night.

Social media is flooded with pictures of burnt-out faces of doctors and nurses. Pharmacists are always being ready at our service despite facing all the challenges. The cleaning staff is keeping the entire territory sterile and aseptic.

In India, there is an old saying that doctors are second to god on this earth. Faced with this epidemic, this statement proved to be true once again.

Joginder Chaudhary, a junior resident doctor at Baba Saheb Ambedkar hospital in Delhi, defeated the month-long battle with novel corona virus and went to rest forever.

The disaster is nothing new in this pandemic. The pathogen has claimed almost 100 doctors and 10 nurses, according to the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

The head of its Kochi chapter, R. Jayadevan has composed a report, “100 doctors’ death in India during the times of COVID-19”, which raises the toll at 108.

More than 55% of the doctors who have lost their lives at the battle against the virus are less than 60. The average age of nurses who have died in COVID-19 is below 50 years of age.

Reports have indicated distinctly lack of proper treatment, insufficient protective gears like PPE kit, and unexpected contamination, which made cause fear to every health worker, especially to doctors and nurses.

The coronavirus is no longer confined to the metro cities only. The areas where allopathic doctors are not always at hand are also victims of their rapid spread.

However, despite such difficulties, Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers are spreading awareness and conducting house to house visit in the rural areas even in this pandemic. The way they are providing their service towards the nation and society is truly commendable.

Frontline health workers are more susceptible to coronavirus but unfortunately, India has no policy on regular quarantine or testing in healthcare workers including doctors, nurses, and paramedical staff.

Initially, hospitals sent their staffs who have worked in covid19 wards into 14 days home isolation but when the rising caseload caused a deficit of health workers, the quarantine period was trimmed to as less as 3-4 days.

Regular test will improve our health care workers confidence level,” said Francis of the United Nurses Association.

Although the Indian government had taken a step to protect those on duty and an insurance cover of 50,00,000 Indian rupees had been provided to those on the front at the battle of Covid19. The two-minute tribute is scheduled to take place globally on Thursday 11 June 2020.

Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi said there was a need to focus on “humanity- centric development” in the arena of COVID-19 pandemic.

But are these enough to protect a soldier without a uniform? Government policies are important but this is the time we need to think beyond that.

However, it is the right time to take a look beyond the fatality report.

Not only the government needs to be more proactive in providing care to our caregivers but also every citizen should give away the mob mentality to the healthcare workers.

We need to keep our saviors alive and well for the worldwide betterment. That could be the very first step towards a healthy nation.

-Saswati Chattopadhyay

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