FRONTLINERS – these are the people we owe our lives to amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) global pandemic.
The government has been reiterating to the public to stay at home, and self-isolate but for those working in healthcare services, they have a sworn duty – to ensure that patients suffering from symptoms linked to Covid-19 are cured, and could no longer spread the dreadful virus.
But no one has been prepared for this crisis, not the government nor the hospitals like the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City.
SPMC, along with Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC) in Tagum City, are the only hospitals in the region capable of treating Covid-19 patients.
The region listed its first Covid-19 patient on Sunday, March 15, a 21-year-old female residing in Davao De Oro. Davao Region is now looking up to the medical forces of these hospitals, hoping that the virus won’t spread like a wildfire.
Dr. Jallil Ken Dayo, senior emergency medicine resident at SPMC, shares how SPMC, the largest hospital in Mindanao, is facing the most crucial health situation the hospital is now facing - to contain the virus from spreading.
Dayo said that in his four years as a medical practitioner, it will be his first time to be a frontliner in the most crucial time, considering there is still scarce knowledge of how the virus can be transmited.
Unlike in the previous, wherein all hospital staff had been used to some unforseen circumstaces, like fire incidents, flash floods, and even earthquakes, this time, they are now preparing for the worst as the virus' cases have rapidly increased, as it no longer a regionwide scenario, but a worldwide outbreak.
"This is the most crucial time being a frontliner because there is struggle in prevention, detection, surveillance and treatment because of its novelity of the agent," he shared, adding the delay of test kits is also a setback in determining whether a patient manifesting flu-like symptoms is Covid-19-positive.
Being a frontliner entails being highly exposed to patients, making them the direct vulnerable to the disease.
What gives them a hard time is the patient themselves, who will not cooperate by not being honest with their travel history or any close contact they had with prior to the manifested symptoms.
"Yes we are challenged sometimes, but we try our best to act professinally and cautiosly for the sake of the patients and the (medical) team," Dayo said.
As a precautionary measures, Jallil said that doctors and medical staff are strictly required to personal protective equipment (PPE). Since they are assets in this time, adequate sleep, and taking healthy diet and vitamins is their reliable source of strength.
However, since the virus is already pandemic, and had reach our country, PPE shortage was felt, which could be used as part of their safety and precautionary measures. With the hoarding and panic buying of important medical and sanation equipment such as face mask, and alcohols, he said the whole SPMC had also felt the shortage, which they badly needed right now.
Not to mention, he said, they are onstandby mode, meaning, less time for themselves, and for their families.
But he said, "Its OK. Its part of our job and what we are called for.".
Being a medical physician graduate, he knew how difficult but fulfilling it is to be in line with this kind of profession.
"Actually we started being busy since last year," he said. "But the challenge gets tougher since, by now, we do not know how the days would pass by".
"As frontliners, we play a big role in ensuring that we would able to prevent, detect and contain the virus," he said.
"They (we) can either pass or prevent the spread of the virus, not only in the hospital, but throughout the community," he said, adding, "We are also agents in giving information, especially those who haven't been infected the virus' complication".
So whenever there’s a declaration from the Department of Health (DOH) of a negative case of persons under investigation (PUI) admitted at SPMC, they heave a sigh of relief, seeing hope not only for the patients, but for the entire community as well.
Now that the government declares the entire country under public state of health emergency, and the city being under community quarantine, Dayon said medical staff are morally boosted with the government’s effort in supporting them, and the entire community in this hard time.
While hospitals like SPMC can do so little, he urged the public to do their share by cooperating with the mandate of the government.
He also shared that other frontliners, like the police, military, and other emergency responders, also need moral support.