Mbabane: The frontline healthcare workers are bearing a brunt of a viral pandemic that not only causes a potential deadly illness, but also unforeseen mental issues.
“They are our frontline soldiers” said Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini. In this war against the pandemic that has been plaguing the globe healthcare workers are in the firing end. They are the ones who are bravely protecting us against deadly invisible enemy.
World Health Organization Director General Dr Tendros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in this fight mental health conditions are expected as healthcare workers carry this heavy workload of taking care of all patients from all walks of life. As a public, we could hardly imagine the 24/7 physical and emotional stress health care workers go through.
This pandemic is also taking toll in their mental health. Statistics already show that health care professionals are suffering the most, having stretched to the limit under normal circumstances, now they have to focus their time, energy and expertise towards COVID-19.
According to research, the pandemic has already caused “striking rates of anxiety and depression” amongst Healthcare workers. A United Kingdom survey found that 68% of respondents had depression, a Canadian study founds that 80% of doctors were suffering from burnout and in New Zealand mental health problems are nearly 3 times prevailing amongst surgeons. However, no such a specific statistic in Eswatini have provided, but one can deduce that the same crisis exists in our country.
On May 22, Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi said 33 health workers have contracted COVID-19 in Eswatini. This suggest that in this fight health workers are not spared from this pandemic as they could gripped by anxiety and fears. In spite of this, they are still working hard to see us overcoming the pandemic and flattening the curve.
Having said that, Eswatini has seen a considerable increase in the number of COVID-19 recoveries which has gone above 50% and being among the leading countries in terms of COVID-19 recovery rates in Africa. Debatably, this suggest that our health workers are doing their best to save our fellow countrymen who have unfortunately contracted the disease.
Ironically, one can reach a conclusion that the most risky profession is the one of the health workers.
Despite the fact government doing an excellent job to flatten the curve and Eswatini being a resource poor country, it has to be acknowledged that at some pointing time the little resources will run out because of the persistence of pandemic. This may lead to doctors and nurses having not only to say to relatives “we did all we could do” but “we did our best with the staff and resources we had, but it was not enough.” As a grateful nation, we should show them our utmost support.
The government should always place them on the country’s top of priorities, not only because of this pandemic, but at all cost even under normal circumstances. It’s high time the government put an to this new norm of seeing health workers on the roads striking because their salaries are not matching their workloads and their working conditions are not conducive enough.