When the COVID19 pandemic fear has emptied streets globally with institutions, private and public, asking their employees to work from home, there is one group that is unitedly and incessantly fighting this invisible enemy even though they are at the highest risk of transmission – the healthcare providers – doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians and other paramedical workers.
Many of them, in developing countries like ours with resource constraints, are working in conditions where there is an absence or short supply of basic personal protection logistics making them even more vulnerable to catching the infection.
More than 500 healthcare providers sacrificed their lives during the fight against the Ebola outbreak in 2014 in just three such resource-constrained countries in Africa. This time too, across the globe, these healthcare workers may not be facing bullets but they are equally in the line of fire having put them in grave danger of being infected.
Many have been continuously working for days without being able to meet their families. They are living up to the oaths that they had taken when they chose their professions. They are not Gods and they were never meant to be so but they deserve the appreciation that every soldier gets when he or she is protecting his or her country and it’s borders against an enemy because it takes an equal amount of courage, and a greater amount of humanity and sacrifice.
Even the citizens of a country like Italy, which is far more developed than ours and has greater amount of resources in healthcare than ours, realized this sacrifice of the healthcare providers and chose to celebrate the same by observing the Aplauso Sanitario for it’s healthcare providers working during this crisis.
For many consecutive evenings, everyone in Spain came out of their homes and to their balconies to applaud and cheer the efforts of their healthcare providers. It is yet to be seen if the citizens of India, a country that has seen an increase in violence against doctors recently and had celebrities and even the head of the nation criticizing doctors of the country in public for being selfish and commercially inclined, ever wake up to this fact that most doctors were only doing their duty as they are now selflessly and passionately.
And they will continue to do so even in the absence of the support from the mainstream media or politicians or a word of appreciation from anyone.
(The writer is a doctor and public health specialist by profession and his views are personal)
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