Health workers in distress
No one knows for sure how long this pandemic will continue. Government and other institutions are concerned with the rising Covid numbers and the daily death toll due to Covid19. Before the second wave is over we are told the third wave is approaching and tension is already building up. So little is known about the virus even now but the socio-economic wreckage it has inflicted globally leaves a trail of destruction. Scientists and health practitioners are still groping. Every day is a new day. No one, not even the wisest soothsayer can tell for sure when “normalcy” as it was known it until 2019 will return. In this attempt to provide healthcare to Covid patients those who are forgotten are the health workers. From doctors, nurses to ward boys and cleaners engaged in hospitals and health care centres they are at breaking point. Some that are mentally strong are holding out but many others have arrived at a point where the stress is killing. The daily confrontation with Covid patients leaves the health workers exposed to the virus. Many have carried the virus home and transmitted it to their family members. It is impossible for health care workers to remain in isolation every time they attend to a Covid patient.
During the first Covid wave the Government was providing isolation centres for health workers so that they don’t endanger their families. Hotels and guest houses were used. But these facilities cost money and the special Covid funds were evidently not sufficient to meet Covid-related expenses this second phase. While private hospitals might be able to provide the necessary isolation centres for their doctors, nurses and other staff working in Covid wards, the problem is with government and mission hospitals. They have limited resources to provide the additional wherewithal to their health workers. But the pandemic is taking a huge toll both physically and mentally and health workers are feeling the stress. It would be wrong to surmise that health workers have no fear of the virus merely because they know more about it than the lay person. The fears are real and health workers need empathy. They need to know that there is a de-stressing centre where they can recover from the anguish of death and disease which they witness up close and personal. They need a break from duties for a couple of days and the least that the state can do is to provide this therapy at a place with a rejuvenating ecosystem. Any of the Orchid facilities would be a great getaway for de-stressing and recovering from fatigue.