Effect of Pandemic on Health Sector
8 Feb 2021
THE EFFECT OF PANDEMIC ON THE HEALTH WORKERS
With the January 2020 declaration by the World Health Organisation of the outbreak disease called COVID 19, the entire world came to a halt and ultimately a worldwide pandemic was declared. By March 2020, the entire world came to a shutdown, with everyone more or less, safe inside their homes, there was the force of doctors, nurses, midwives and the entire hospitality sector giving their best to save the affected patients. The horror was that no one knew what it was, how it actually started, what would be the effective medication for it and with countries pointing and blaming each other, pointing fingers at China for keeping mum about the threat that was going on.
The doctors and nurses worldwide had to wave their families goodbye, of them who had newborn babies at homes, the ones who were newly married, ones who had ailing parents and family members. The fear crippling with the uncertainty because a majority of them were on a battlefield with an invisible enemy, the fear that most of them would not even return to their homes. The doctors and nurses who with a brave heart gave out their lives.
THE EFFECT OF LACK OF EDUCATION ABOUT CORONA
With the lack of understanding and actual information about the virus and how does it spread, what are its effects. A large number of people went along with varied misconceptions, due to which a large number of cases about violence and attack upon the healthcare workers were reported.
On 8th of April, 2020 two trainee doctors in New Delhi were allegedly assaulted by a neighbour who accused them of spreading the disease.
A group of health workers in Indore were trying to contact trace a person when they met with a group of 100 people pelted stones upon them.
According to reports of Economist, at least 21 health care workers were assaulted in Mexico, in the Philippines, a nurse was attacked by men who poured bleach on his face. May 2020, an armed attack on a hospital maternity ward in Kabul, Afghanistan killed 24 civilians and 2 infants.
These are only some of the cases that were reported while there are thousands more all over countries which could be unreported or dismissed.
THE PSYCHOLOGICAL AND EMOTIONAL IMPACT ON THE DOCTORS AND NURSES
Apart from the fact that the doctors and nurses were working without any shift relief with Protective Gear attached to their faces and with the difficulty of breathing with huge face masks wound around the nasal and facial area. Some even went to the length of cutting their hair off, scalded their skin cause of the face mask worn for longer duration. While some government hospitals even failed to provide their staff with PPE ( personal protective equipments) risking both the lives of the patients and the Health care staffs. As a result, thousands of health care workers contracted the disease or some form of acute respiratory syndrome called Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
Ana Delgado who works as a Nurse Midwife and Clinical Professor at San Francisco, California. Talks about her experience of working in isolation ward and moreover on inequity and moral injury she faced during her work. She talked about the patients who lived in their paycheck and with jobs getting lost, a lot of them were desperate and helpless, some were even undocumented. She could feel the helplessness and injustice about the health care system, which slowly turned into self blame for not able to fulfill the omit meant of protecting the wellness and welfare of people.
John Berk who works as Pulmonary Critical Care Physician and Associate Professor in Boston. He recalled how in the early days of the outbreak of Corona, the hospital had a policy that only the infected patients and the doctors,nurses who are treating the patients will wear a mask. This in turn, created heightened anxiety and fear among the ones working in the hospital.
Roxy Johnson is an Emergency Room Nurse in Dallas, Texas. She herself was running with a low grade fever in late march and had to self isolate. It was a battle for her to stay away from her family and work.
In early April, when she joined back work she took a hotel to stay instead of choosing to go back home with the fear of contracting the virus to her family members along with a dad who had an underlying disease.
The fact that I order to overcome her fears and pressure, she started drinking after work which apparently is another risk taking activity during COVID. But that was the only resort to save her from insanity, fear, trauma.
WHAT MEASURES COULD BE ADOPTED TO MINIMISE THE PRESSURE OF THE HEALTH CARE STAFF
Firstly, a lot of misconception and misinformation created hurdles for the ones working in the health industry. The need for the right information is vital for the public to not hurl abuses, attack and assault at the ones who are working to save lives. Without them, the world cannot sustain at this hour especially.
To allow them with coping strategies such as sufficient rest, healthy food, providing them with necessary vitamins by the government.
The attacks upon the healthcare workers must be condemned and worked through the providence of good protection through police marshalls. Delhi government adopted this method and Marshalls were posted at large central hospitals in accident and emergency departments.
The Indian government has issued an ordinance that makes violence against healthcare workers a non -bailable offence and punishable upto 7 years imprisonment.
Starting of May 15th the doctors of AIIMS started their self defence classes from black belt champoins in martial arts and taekwondo.
Staff from Lok Nayak Hospital and Lady Hardinge Medical College also went similar training from Delhi Police personnel.
Understanding the situation that we may as individuals went through a lot of trauma and fear of the unknown but the same could be said about the health workers too and how vital it becomes to protect and understand their work when they are fighting to save the world in their own battlefield. A fight against the unknown, of its own kind.