AT THE frontlines of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, it is the health workers who are taking the hardest hit. They are the ones treating the Covid-19 patients, admitting them, and also taking part in the research and study of the disease.
The World Health Organization states that "Health workers are at the front line of the Covid-19 outbreak response and as such are exposed to hazards that put them at risk of infection."
"Hazards include pathogen exposure, long working hours, psychological distress, fatigue, occupational burnout, stigma, and physical and psychological violence," the organization added.
Data from the Department of Health would show that the pandemic is taking a toll on the health workers. As of May 27, 2020, a total 2,437 around the country caught the disease.
In Davao Region, 41 health workers have already been infected by Sars-CoV-2, the virus causing the Covid-19.
The Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) reported that 28 of its employees tested positive for the virus. As of May 21, a total of 1,661 SPMC employees have already been tested. A total of 1,247 already have results while the remaining 414 still have pending results.
SPMC medical professional staff chief Dr. Ricardo Audan on May 26 said health workers at the hospital are already resigning, mostly due to the request of family members. Family members have expressed concerns over the risks of the job due to the pandemic. In March, four nurses have quit their job and another two in April.
He added that some of the health workers reasoned that their spouses will not allow them to go on duty because their child is still a baby while some feared that they could infect their parents who are already old.
Due to these developments, DOH-Davao and SPMC will be hiring medical and non-medical workers to augment the dwindling number of staff.
Praises and support have been given to them, mainly from the private sector. The government is doing its part by providing supplies and any support it can be. However, the government, the private sector, and the public have to do more collectively.
As more and more people are allowed to move around, we have to expect that more cases will come. As the cases increase, the workload of our health care workers also increases.
The best we can do is to observe health measures to protect ourselves from the virus. This means to stay at home as much as possible, to wear a facemask wherever we go, bring our own personal hand sanitizers or alcohol, observe physical distancing, and wash our hands regularly as possible.
When we help ourselves while we are healthy, we can also help our health care workers.