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Lavanya P Kesan

Freelance Writer | Posted on |

A Tribute to the Health Care Workers


World is no more on a complete pause mode. It is limping to near-normal. The scenario of COVID-19 no longer seems to cripple the daily lives of the public. There have been a lot of relaxations ever since mid of May or probably even earlier than that. More are yet to come from the second week of June.

But, do you think there are any relaxations with respect to the health workers? None!

As the country opens up from the consecutive versions of Lockdown to Unlock 1.0 from the 8th of June, the number of COVID-19 cases only seems to rise at a rapid and alarming rate. With the propaganda of ‘People have to learn to live with it for now’ in India and WHO announcing that ‘the novel corona virus might be here to stay for some time and it is impossible to predict when the pandemic would be controlled.’, the common man understands that life has to go on, but with the manifestation of the new-normal such as social distancing, wearing masks when outside, washing hands regularly with soap, sanitizing yourself etc., The increase in the number of cases per day has only put enormous pressure on the health workers.

From the onset of this pandemic, it is that health workers population which has been put under extraordinary stress and tension, both physically and mentally as they stand in the front line making their best attempts to save lives, in spite of the fact that their own lives are in danger. A few hazards among all (as listed by WHO) are pathogen exposure, long working hours, occupational burnout and fatigue. They have been rightly referred to as the ‘COVID warriors’ by our Government, as we fight against this invisible enemy. Hats-off to each and every one of them and…

A big SHOUT-OUT to all the Health Care Workers out there! You deserve every accolade and applaud and more than we could ever give back in a lifetime!

What with the PPEs (personal protective equipment), gloves, face masks and the glass goggles that they are supposed to wear during their shifts and the long hours they put in to treat the COVID-19 patients, both the physiological and psychological distress is more than one could ever imagine. The Government has advised them to practise stress management techniques and also has an official toll-free helpline to provide ‘psycho-social support’ at any time.

These health workers are more prone to the infection given that they work closely with the COVID-19 patients. Recent reports of this week inform us that 6 healthcare workers from JIPMER have been tested positive. As many as 206 workers have been identified with the novel Corona virus infection so far in AIIMS and about 50 healthcare personnel in the past 1 week. One particular report that I came across mentioned that around 550 health care workers in India have been affected with this viral spread. This was dated a month back and I shudder to get to know the exact numbers as on date.

On one side when the number of positive cases among them is on the rise, reports of insufficient protective and preventive equipment and masks at their disposal is so disheartening to come to know of. Apart from the high risk of infection, stress and separation from their families, health care workers are paying a very heavy price in the form of social ostracism, harassment and even assault. There are also reports mentioning that they have been attacked by common public and accused of spreading the virus, which heightens the atrocities towards them. Such indifference! Above all, these health care workers have families of their own and are separated from them. Some of them even point out that they do not want to return home for fear of transmitting the infection to the families. These are tough times for everyone and even tougher for these workers. It is the basic duty of every common man to stand with them in the fight and not against them.

As the number of infected cases keeps going up, the death toll of these workers has also been inevitable and predictable. It is so heart-wrenching and deeply saddening to come across news of doctors and nurses losing their lives in this battle. The best that the public can do to help them is to stay safe and ensure our personal and our family’s protection with masks, social-distancing and regularly sanitizing ourselves. This can go a long way in flattening the curve (when it is only steeply rising now, sadly) and will be of great and indirect help to our warriors who are fighting out a hard battle.

This note is fully and wholly dedicated to every health care worker putting his/her life at risk in the current COVID-19 situation and working for the safety of the citizens. If you are one and reading this right now, we want you to know that we salute you and are proud of you and your service!