Health warriors

All hail our health warriors!!!

About a century ago the Spanish flu pandemic killed an estimated 50 million people, more than the combined total casualties of World Wars I and II however this new Coronavirus has shown the limits of our ability to deal with major disease outbreaks.

During, the outbreak of Ebola in 2014, former US President, Barrack Obama pre-emptively expressed that there might be another global pandemic and the world was not ready to tackle it. Sadly, with 6 years interval, the world was still not ready when we were hit with Coronavirus.

The virus is spreading and on the frontline between a nervous public and those responsible for directing national responses are the healthcare workers on whom we all depend but they can easily be forgotten. Doctors, nurses, carers and paramedics around the world are facing an unprecedented workload in overstretched health facilities.

They are working in stressful and frightening work conditions because they are under-protected, overworked and are exposed to contracting the virus. In all of these, health workers are stepping directly into COVID-19’s path to aid the afflicted and help curtail the virus’s spread despite their own well-founded fears.

In some parts of France and Italy, hospitals have run out of masks, forcing doctors to examine and treat coronavirus patients without adequate protection. And in our dear nation Nigeria, where we already have a very fragile health systems even before the Covid-19 outbreak, the situation is alarming, demand has far outstripped supplies and there is shortage of PPEs for health workers to work with.

Like soldiers, health workers also face considerable mental stress. It is often forgotten that as humans, they feel the sorrow of loss when their patients succumb to the virus. They too have families and will naturally be afraid that their loved ones too might contract the virus.

For instance, a doctor in one of the US hospitals treating Covid-19 committed suicide. This implies the extent of the mental stress these health workers are subjected to yet they are professionally required to be always calm, hide their fears while they embrace other people’s troubles. The heroism, dedication and selflessness of our health workers allow the rest of us a degree of reassurance that we will overcome this virus.

There is a need for society’s resolution that we will not let our frontline soldiers become patients. For instance, our healthcare workers need access to counselling services so they can be mentally healthy as they move on in the fight against the invisible enemy Covid-19.

We must do everything to support health workers who, despite their own well-founded fears, are stepping directly into COVID-19’s path to aid the afflicted and help halt the virus’s spread. We must give these health workers all the support they need to do their jobs to be safe and stay alive.

This is that time to sincerely say thank you to every health worker you know. Join the Say Thank you to a Doctor Challenge by posting a video of yourself appreciating the health workers in your space. Use the #saythankyoutoadoctor, tag them and tag HEI across social media platforms. Let’s celebrate our health warriors, they deserve the accolades.

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